Miguel Almiron snaps drought with brace for Atlanta United vs. Orlando City

After Miguel Almiron scored his first-ever goal against Orlando City off a through ball from Josef Martinez, the two came together to celebrate as one with their patented “Fusion” celebration, a nod to the animated show Dragon Ball Z.

It was as good a sign as any that Almiron is back in top form.

Almiron had gone nine matches without a goal leading up to the Fives Stripes’ 4-0 win against Orlando on Saturday night. He scored twice against their Eastern Conference rivals, bringing his season goal total to eight, and his 57th-minute strike against the crossbar fell right to Ezequiel Barco for an easy putaway.

At training on Friday, Atlanta manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino told the media he thought Almiron was back to his old self in training after dealing with a minor shoulder injury. He alluded to those prophetic words in Saturday's post-match press conference.

“You asked me this week, how I thought he looked?” Martino said through a translator. “I said he looked pretty good.”

He paused and smiled, before continuing: “And he looked pretty good.”

Martino added that, while Almiron may have gone through a production drought, his presence continued to be felt in other ways.

“Miguel has a commitment to the team, I’m talking about his commitment to winning the ball back, pressing, he’s a player that’s always working,” said Martino. “I can’t find a game where his work rate isn’t showcased. Other players may play better than him, but for a coach to find a player who plays that position and [with] that level of commitment, it’s very valuable."

Even so, Atlanta captain Michael Parkhurst believed Almiron was able to find another gear on Saturday.

“[Almiron] was fantastic for us tonight,” Parkhurst said. “You could tell from the first minute he was really up for it. He was sharp and I think it’s the best he’s looked since he’s had a little bit of the shoulder issue.”

Parkhust also credited Martinez's early goal for opening some space for Almiron.

“When that happens, and Miggy can find some space, he’s the best player in the league for sure,” he said.

Per usual, Almiron himself was quick to move attention away from him and back on his teammates.

“I’m really happy with the victory, more so for how the team played as a whole and not because of the goals,” he said.

Specifically, Almiron said he felt comfortable being back on the field with Hector “Tito” Villalba and Martinez.

“We played all last season together as starters, so it’s nothing new playing with those guys,” he said. “Those guys make everything easier for me.”