Almiron netting a brace with Nagbe back on the pitch may be no coincidence.
This season, in a sample size of 18 games, Almiron has scored eight goals with Nagbe on the field compared to just three goals in 10 games without him. Atlanta coach Tata Martino believes he sees a trend there.
"What Darlington does is he frees up Miguel because Darlington is the one initiating and participating in the build-up," Martino said Saturday. "So that allows Miguel to get further up the field and be in better positions, higher positions, next to Josef [Martinez]."
The impact isn't as direct as Nagbe assisting on Almiron's goals, but Nagbe's inclusion lessens Almiron's responsibilities in the middle third. Nagbe can retain possession and act as a deeper playmaker; Almiron's focus shifts more exclusively to the final third.
It was evident on Saturday as both of Almiron's goals against the Rapids were possible because of his starting position. Tap-ins they may be, with Nagbe nowhere near the play in either, but his effect is felt nonetheless.
Granted, the Rapids don't have the league's best defense, but it's a trend to watch moving forward, beginning again on Wednesday against cellar dwellers San Jose (11 pm ET | UniMás, Twitter - Full TV & Streaming info).
In trying to find some semblance of a weakness in ATLUND's game this year, one could point to a lack of a second reliable goalscorer behind the record-breaker in Martinez. If Almiron can continue to score at the pace he has with Nagbe on the pitch, then Atlanta becomes even more dangerous in the postseason.