Atlanta United has relied on Thiago Almada heavily during the 2023 MLS season and the Argentine playmaker rose to the occasion once again for the Five Stripes.
Almada led the way on Saturday night by scoring one goal and adding two assists in a 4-0 shutout victory over visiting Nashville SC. The result helped the Five Stripes move into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings and helped Almada earn SBI Player of the Week honors for his stellar outing.
Almada connected with Xande Silva in the 26th minute for the opening goal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Atlanta United made it 1-0. The duo were at it again in the 46th minute with Almada chipping Silva’s through-ball assist into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
Almada’s dangerous delivery in the 57th minute allowed Miles Robinson to head home the Five Stripes’ third goal of the night and ice the performance. Atlanta United would add a fourth and final goal in the dying moments to pad its lopsided home win.
The 22-year-old Almada led all players with nine created chances and four dribbles completed, while also winning four of his eight duels in the match.
Vancouver’s Ryan Gauld, Orlando’s Facundo Torres, and Sporting KC’s Johnny Russell also earned honorable mentions for their performances.
Here is a closer look at the rest of Week 24’s Best of MLS:
Team of the Week
Orlando City made it back-to-back MLS victories since its return to action after defeating Western Conference leaders St. Louis CITY SC by a 2-1 scoreline on Saturday.
The Lions used a brace from Facundo Torres including a 91st minute penalty-kick winning goal to claim an important home result. Orlando City moved up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference following two-consecutive victories against the Chicago Fire and St. Louis CITY SC respectively.
Torres broke the deadlock in the 48th minute from Exploria Stadium, but the Lions were pegged back with Rasmus Alm equalizing for St. Louis in the 79th minute.
However, Orlando City used a 91st minute penalty-kick goal from Torres to claim all three points on home soil. Pedro Gallese made only one save in the victory, which was the Lions sixth triumph at home this season.
The Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, and Atlanta United also earned Team of the Week Honorable Mentions.
Goal of the Week
Inter Miami returned to MLS action on Saturday and left Red Bull Arena with three points.
Lionel Messi scored his first league goal in a 2-0 triumph over the New York Red Bulls. A stellar team effort in the 89th minute allowed Messi to slot home a pass from Benjamin Cremaschi for his 11th goal across all competitions for the Herons.
Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba connected on the left wing before Alba’s flicked pass in the Red Bulls box found Messi. Messi’s curling pass to the right wing allowed Cremaschi to find space before setting up Messi for a 2-0 dagger.
The result moved the Herons off of last place in the Eastern Conference and extended their unbeaten run to nine matches this summer.