In Atlanta's first home game since the League's Cup break, the team looked exciting and dangerous, a welcome change from the months before. Atlanta took a few minutes to really settle into the game, but after that, the five stripes looked heads and shoulders above Nashville and the result was never really in doubt. Summer signing Xande Silva was one of the stars of the match, registering a slick assist as well as bagging his first-ever Atlanta United goal and Saba Lobzhanidze, another summer pickup, was chomping at the bit his entire time on the field, eventually scoring in the 87th minute. As a side note, the kits are also quite nice and the showmanship around it including a mini Goodie Mob performance at half time was well done.
Thiago Almada Showed Up
In the wake of news that the young World Cup winner could be heading to Ajax, Thiago Almada showed up and showed out with an impressive man-of-the-match performance. Atlanta's starlet registered two assists and a goal, adding to his impressive tally. This game made him first in the MLS in assists, goal contributions, and average rating (per FOTMOB.com) In addition to his goal contributions, though, Almada is also so beneficial for the team because of his style of play. He pops up everywhere around the field and is a great way for Atlanta to relieve pressure by playing out of him. Almada just makes the jobs of everyone around him easier and that is an invaluable trait. It is no wonder why Ajax is looking at him as a potential Kudus replacement, and from his perspective Ajax is a good move. They are a serious team that will compete in the Champions League annually and is constantly sending players to top teams.
Miles Above the Rest
Miles Robinson played great and got up way above his Nashville defenders to bury a header in the back of the net. His goal coming off of a beautiful Almada corner was far from his first headed goal ever but was his first MLS goal for Atlanta since the 2021 season. In addition to bagging Atlanta's third goal, he was also really good in the back and was important in the clean sheet against Hany Mukhtar, MLS's Golden Boot leader. Miles had a 100% tackle success rate and boasted a block, two clearances, and 3 recoveries. If he is able to keep this up and the back line as a whole is able to avoid making the kind of individual mistakes that always cost us, Atlanta will be able to make a serious late push. This leads us nicely to the last point of the day:
Getting Hot at the Right Time
This may be naïve considering Atlanta's final 8 games of the season feature two matches against the top team in the east, a match against some guy named Messi, and a cold night in Philadelphia, but Atlanta is starting to hit full stride and is looking very dangerous at just the right time. A late push for the top four slots is very much possible and the team looks as set to do it now as ever. The squad looks reinvigorated with our new signings and a shape change to feature a diamond in the attack seems promising. I am clearly not biased at all, but if everyone can step up and perform like last night then Atlanta has a very real shot at making a run late in the season heading into the playoffs. I have been particularly impressed with Tristan Muyumba's play as a regista-style 6. He has been great on the ball and a safe outlet for the defense that Atlanta hasn't really been able to benefit from since Darlington Nagbe. He has even been a good defender, the man can do it all. If he can keep it up, Saba keeps chomping at the bit, Almada keeps doing Almada things, and Xande Silva keeps flipping Atlanta will be capital D Dangerous.