Player of the Matchday

Atlanta United's Thiago Almada named Player of the Matchday


For the second time during the 2023 MLS season, Atlanta United star Thiago Almada has been voted Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire.

The Argentine has now won the award after Matchday 1 and Matchday 4, with Saturday marking a true star-affirming performance from the World Cup-winning midfielder.

Almada scored two goals and added two assists in Atlanta’s 5-1 home victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, becoming the first player in MLS history to produce at least four goals and four assists in his club’s first four games of a season. He leads the early Golden boot presented by Audi race, plus is tied with the Philadelphia Union’s Dániel Gazdag for the most assists this season.

The jaw-dropping moment for Almada arrived in first-half stoppage time when, from nearly 35 yards out, he produced an AT&T 5G Goal of the Year contender with a thunderous, curling effort that kissed off the inside of the post and into the net.

Almada also assisted on goals from homegrown Caleb Wiley and DP striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, then iced the game in the 86th minute with a slick finish inside the penalty area.

Since May 1 of last year, Almada’s 25 goal contributions (nine goals, 16 assists) are the fourth-most in MLS. And despite the 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year playing just 33 games for Atlanta, he already ranks seventh in club history with 26 career goal contributions.

After Almada’s latest performance, talk has increased that he may surpass the MLS-record outgoing transfer fee that ex-Atlanta playmaker Miguel Almiron set in the winter of 2019 when joining English Premier League side Newcastle United for a reported $27 million. Almada, notably, signed in February 2022 for a reported $16 million from Argentine top-flight side Vélez Sarsfield.

Atlanta, when also combining Wiley’s recognition after Matchday 3, are now the first club in MLS history to earn three of the first four Player of the Matchday honors to start a season. Accordingly, they’re 3W-0L-1D to start the year and sit atop the Eastern Conference table.

Atlanta return to action on Saturday when visiting the Columbus Crew for a Matchday 5 test (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is selected each matchday of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media.