MARIETTA, Ga. -- When Miguel Almiron plays soccer, he covers every blade of grass. He can’t help it -- it’s just his nature. He can’t sit still. Whether it’s sitting down for an interview, or on the field roaming and fighting for the ball, he never stops moving.
Almiron, the MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™ in April, is a complete player. He doesn’t just do a little bit of everything, he does a lot of everything. After bagging a brace last weekend against the Montreal Impact, the Paraguayan midfielder is now tied for the league lead in goals (six) and leads the league by a considerable distance with 46 total shots (12 more than 2nd-place Alberth Elis). Then there's his four assists, which put him just one shy of tying the league lead.
But it’s not just on the offensive end where Almiron is terrorizing the opposition. Almiron averages close to two tackles and more than one interception per game. That kind of workrate, paired with his offensive output, makes him a clear contender to win MLS MVP this season. Don’t tell him about any of these plaudits though, he doesn’t want to hear about it.
“I try not to think about it too much,” Almiron told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “I try to focus on how I can help my team on the field. For me, the [MVP] award isn’t that important, though I’m grateful that my name is on the list among other players. For me, the most important thing I can do is to help my teammates.”
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One of those teammates Almiron is trying to help is striker Josef Martinez, and the production speaks for itself. Martinez is the other player tied with Almiron for the league lead in scoring this season, and since linking up together in Atlanta, Martinez smashed a league record by scoring 24 goals in his first 25 games.
Almiron and Martinez will look to add to their goal tallies -- and tally another win for the Five Stripes -- Saturday night when Atlanta United visit the Chicago Fire (8:30 pm ET | TSN1/3/4/5 in Canada — Full TV & Streaming Info).
The two have clearly formed a partnership on the field, but they have a strong bond off it as well.
“We have a great friendship and I’m really glad things are going well for him, because if he’s doing well then that means things are going well for the team,” said Almiron, who laughed when asked if they joke about being tied for the league lead in goals.
“We try not to think about that too much. Josef is a goalscorer, so he’s the one whose job it is to score. He’s a great player for us though, and even when he’s not scoring, he’s always doing things to help the team. He’s defending, he’s moving all the time, and for me he’s the best forward in the league.”