ATL United stifles Nashville, Seattle

Thiago Almada celebrates following his goal in the 46th minute against Nashville SC. The goal put Atlanta up 2-0 en route to a dominant 4-0 shutout in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. // Photo courtesy of Atlanta United

Atlanta United continued their winning ways with a 4-0 demolition of Nashville SC on Saturday, Aug. 26th. The team’s performance was their best all season, with all components of the team performing exceptionally. The Five Stripes also took down the Seattle Sounders 2-0 on Sunday, Aug. 20th. The win over Seattle was largely down to star forward Giorgos Giakoumakis, who scored both goals. After a break from Major League Soccer (MLS) play due to the Leagues Cup, Atlanta United has picked up some much-needed wins and distinguished themselves as one of the best teams in MLS.

The 17s came back from the break and took on the Sounders in Seattle. The team had two players make their MLS debuts with  forward Xande Silva and midfielder Tristan Muyumba. The only other change that Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda made was starting midfielder Edwin Mosquera. Atlanta dominated the ball, having 63%  possession and double the passes of Seattle. Giakoumakis led the charge with two beautifully guided headers in the 11th and 65th minutes of the game to get his goal tally to 12, tying him for the second most goals in the league. 

To follow up the win against the Sounders, Atlanta hoped to spark a winning streak against Nashville SC. Coach Pineda kept the same starting XI as the last game for the bout against the Boys in Gold. Atlanta resoundingly won the game 4-0. The game was Atlanta’s best  of the season, creating chances at will while Nashville could not get anything going as Hany Mukhtar, Nashville’s most notable threat, was seemingly anonymous for most of the game. The goals were scored by Silva (26’), midfielder Thiago Almada (46’), defender Miles Robinson (57’) and midfielder Saba Lobjanidze (87’), proving the game to be a team effort. Atlanta United truly dominated the game, creating over 3.85 of their expected goals and limiting Nashville to below their 1.10 expected goals. 

Their recent run of terrific form has been predominantly due to some new arrivals this summer.  Silva, an explosive Portuguese winger, has been a revelation since joining. He has provided a much-needed spark for Atlanta United and fits Pineda’s style perfectly. His arrival capped off with him scoring on his home debut and celebrating with his signature backflip.

Alongside Silva, Muyumba also joined the team this summer. Muyumba is a metronomic player in the center of the field and has provided some much needed stability to the Five Stripes. Despite not scoring or assisting in his first two games, Muyumba has excelled and become a mainstay in Pineda’s side.

Atlanta United’s next game is against FC Cincinnati on Aug. 30. The game against Cincinnati should be a real challenge with Cincinnati currently running away with the Supporters Shield, which goes to the team that has the most points over the course of the MLS season. Teams gain three points for every win on the year and one for every draw. Following the Cincinnati game, Atlanta takes on FC Dallas and Inter Miami. The game against Inter Miami is the most anticipated and most expensive ticket of the season, as Lionel Messi will be coming  to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the match.