Carlos Rivas arrived at Orlando City with Cristian Higuita on Jan. 9, 2015. Hopes were high for the young pair of Colombians, with Rivas in particular getting many of the Orlando faithful excited for what was to come. Rivas reportedly attracted interest from some European teams, and it looked as if the forward was the one to be the most hopeful about between the pair after signing a Young Designated Player deal.
Ultimately, Higuita actually turned out to be the better signing, making over 100 appearances for the club and establishing himself as a fan favorite. Rivas, on the other hand, made an impressive 78 appearances with Orlando City, 42 of which were starts, but he was known for sailing the ball into the stands more than anything. The Young Designated Player did not do quite as well as many were hoping.
Consequently, after a two-year tenure with the Lions, Rivas was sent to the New York Red Bulls in a trade for Sacha Kljestan.
With regards to Rivas’ time with the Red Bulls, the less said, the better. The Colombian’s relationship with the club soured and, in May of 2020, the player stated that the coaches did not like him, hinting at possible discrimination as one of the reasons why.
“... I arrived and the coach who was there did not let me play much in those six months. He almost didn’t like Latinos, so it was a little complicated. I talked to him, he said he was going to get me but the days passed and nothing. At last I decided to come to Colombia again.”
After just 264 minutes of playing time in New York, Rivas was loaned to Atletico Nacional in Colombia for the remainder of the 2018 season. The familiar surroundings and better weather in his native country did not help his production, with no goals or assists in 11 appearances across all competitions with Nacional. After his loan ended, the Red Bulls declined his option after the 2018-2019 season.
The next stop for Rivas is certainly an outlier to say the least. Instead of joining another MLS team or heading down to South America again, he moved to Hapoel Raanana in Israel in July of 2019. Rivas only played three matches due to a knee injury before the coronavirus pandemic hit, suspending play. Once again, he failed to score or get an assist in the limited match time.
Rivas then made the switch back to South America, moving to Ecuador after entering free agency. He played seven times for Deportivo Cuenca, scoring a single goal and logging an assist while dealing with more injuries. After it was announced Rivas would not be continuing with the Ecuadorian club, a move to Alianza Petrolera in Colombia ended up falling through after he reportedly didn’t pass the medical tests.
Rivas has had a topsy-turvy career since leaving Orlando City. It has lacked any kind of stability, which is what Rivas may need — in addition to getting and staying healthy — in order to reach his full potential. Hopes were high when the quick forward came to Central Florida, but he disappointed as a Young Designated Player. The same, underwhelming performance has been constant for the 26-year-old since leaving Orlando as well.
Can Rivas meet expectations once he’s healthy and finds a new club? It will be a tall order, but he is still capable of forging something out of his career. At just 26, Rivas should still have some years left in the tank.
Rivas has had a turbulent and fascinating career so far and his next step is uncertain.