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Carlos Rivas plays in Atletico Nacional win over Sporting Cristal

Atletico Nacional’s 2018 season is over, but Carlos Rivas is still on loan to the Colombian club and still playing.

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Atletico Nacional has started the process of regrouping for a new season under recently-appointed head coach Paulo Autuori. Games that count for something won’t start up again for the Colombian club again until next year, so Autuori turned to one of his former teams - Peru’s Sporting Cristal - to provide opposition for a relatively high-profile friendly that might challenge players to show their new coach something of their best.

Perhaps surprisingly, among those players selected by Autuori for the game in Lima was Carlos Rivas.

The team provided Autuori with his first win as Atletico Nacional head coach, besting Sporting Cristal 2-1.

Per’s report on the game, this match was more a cool-down than a warm-up for Autuori and his players. The squad will take its winter vacation starting December 7, returning January 4 to prepare for a pre-season tournament featuring Millonarios, America de Cali, and Independiente Santa Fe.

Carlos Rivas’ loan to Atletico Nacional should expire this month. He has been identified as one of several players in the squad unlikely to return for 2019, but a new coach brings a chance for a fresh start - and Rivas may need a fresh start shortly.

The New York Red Bulls are expected to announce their end-of-year roster decisions on Monday, December 3. It will be no surprise if the lightly-used, highly-paid Rivas is among the players cut from the RBNY squad. And if that is the case, he’ll have about a week left at Atletico Nacional to persuade the club to invite him back for pre-season training in January.