Giorgos Giakoumakis cleared for Atlanta United debut this weekend

Giorgos Giakoumakis

Atlanta United delivered some important news Friday morning: Giorgos Giakoumakis has received his visa and is available for selection in Saturday’s Matchday 2 showdown vs. Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

The Greek international striker, while awaiting paperwork clearance, previously couldn't join training since his Feb. 8 transfer from Scottish powerhouse Celtic FC. Now, it’s up to head coach Gonzalo Pineda to determine if the 28-year-old Designated Player will start, be used as a substitute or get slowly worked into the lineup.

The Five Stripes haven’t labeled Giakoumakis as a direct Josef Martínez replacement, but he’s nonetheless tasked with No. 9 duties after the club’s all-time leading scorer was bought out in mid-January amid a falling out. Martínez, who holds legendary status in Atlanta, joined Inter Miami CF this offseason on a non-DP deal.

Giakoumakis is coming off two sterling campaigns in Europe, finishing as the top scorer in the Eredivisie (2020-21 at VVV-Venlo) and Scottish Premiership (2021-22 with Celtic). He scored a combined 55 goals in 90 games at those two clubs, moving to bigger-name stops after increasing his profile in the Greek Super League.

Atlanta are hoping to build off a thrilling 2-1 comeback victory over San Jose Earthquakes. Argentine World Cup-winning midfielder Thiago Almada scored two golazos in second-half stoppage time, earning Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire honors for Matchday 1.

On paper, Giakoumakis, Almada and wingers Luiz Araújo and Derrick Etienne Jr. form Atlanta's first-choice attacking group.