Atlanta United picked up three crucial points at home against southern rivals Nashville SC, and star midfielder Thiago Almada led the way with another stellar performance.
A pair of assists and a lone goal saw Almada’s output in MLS in 2023 rise to nine goals and 12 assists, with clubs abroad taking notice of his exceptional play. A day before the southern showdown, sources confirmed to 90min that Eredivisie giants Ajax had opened talks with the Five Stripes over a potential transfer for the 2022 World Cup winner.
The 22-year-old was the orchestar for Atlanta going forward, as usual, and made light work against Gary Smith’s side who were without star center-back Walker Zimmerman. The 4-0 scoreline was a heavy defeat for the visitors, but had the home side been more clinical, the final score could’ve been eye-popping.
Almada set up new signing Xande Silva’s first goal for the club, which was a first-time volleyed shot that sent Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a frenzy. He then followed that act up by chipping Nashville’s Joe Willis, and found his second assist of the night from the corner flag as center-back Miles Robinson headed home.
The midfielder also played his part on the last goal of the night in Atlanta, as he linked up with new Designated Player Saba Lobjanidze in the late stages of regulation.
It’s no secret that the Almada dreams of playing in Europe, but for now the MLS MVP candidate is focused on building towards great things with Atlanta.
“The only thing I said was that if a good offer came and it was the best for me, I’d think it over with my family and make the best decision,” said Almada following the game. “But I’m doing things well here, I’m in a big club and I’m trying to give the best of myself.”
As Gonzalo Pineda’s side look like they should finish in a playoff spot, the goal is clear for Almada and his teammates. “We want to try to win a title with this group,” said the former Velez Sarsfield player.
With the win, Atlanta leapfrogs Nashville for the time being to sixth place in the Eastern Conference table with 41 points and are just two points off second placed Philadelphia Union.
The Five Stripes are back in action on August 30 as they host Supporters’ Shield leaders FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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