“Gelmin’s experience and goal scoring record in leagues across the world will add some important firepower and attacking depth to our roster,” General Manager Dave Kasper said in a statement Monday. “We’re looking forward to integrating him with the squad.”
Rivas became a free agent early this month after appearing in seven matches and scoring once this past season for Ankaragucu, which finished last in Turkey’s 18-club first division. Since 2015, he has also played in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Uruguay.
His most productive years were 2013 to 2017 with 69 goals: 37 for Táchira (Venezuela), 19 for Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) and 13 for Sharjah (UAE). He made three appearances for the Venezuelan national team between 2010 and 2014.
Since MLS returned from the novel coronavirus shutdown, United (1-4-3) has scored five goals in six matches (0-3-3). Ola Kamara, the starting striker, has battled injuries and scored once (on a penalty kick). Backup Erik Sorga has played sparingly. Midfielders Ulises Segura and Edison Flores have served as forwards as well.
United’s troubles run much deeper than front-line production, but Rivas will provide another experienced option in addition to Kamara, 30, an MLS veteran who played in China for less than six months before returning stateside last summer to sign with United.
Rivas becomes the second Venezuelan on the roster, joining defensive midfielder Júnior Moreno.
United is facing a personnel shortage because of injuries: Seven ailing players, including five starters, missed the 4-1 defeat at Philadelphia on Saturday and goalkeeper Bill Hamid was out for personal reasons.
It’s unclear how many of those players will return for matches at the New York Red Bulls (3-3-2) on Wednesday and vs. New York City FC (3-5-0) on Sunday.
United has not won since March 7, five days before the season was suspended because of the pandemic.