ATLANTA – Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada has been named a finalist for two MLS Year-End Awards, the league announced today. Almada is one of three finalists for both Young Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year after a standout first season in Atlanta.
The Argentine midfielder showed why he’s one of the league’s most talented young stars in his first MLS season, scoring six goals and recording 12 assists. The 21-year-old was named No. 2 on MLS’ “22 Under 22 list” and finished the season ranked tied for seventh in MLS with 12 assists and sixth in chances created with 80. In total, Almada started 25 of his 29 MLS appearances and recorded four games with at least a goal and an assist, tied for the most in a single season in club history.
Almada produced a highlight reel of goals during the 2022 campaign, beginning with his first career MLS goal in just his second appearance with a long-range strike against Montreal on March 19 to win his first of three MLS Goal of the Week honors. He tallied a goal and an assist in consecutive matches in a pair of draws against New England on May 15 and Nashville SC on May 21. Almada won his second MLS Goal of the Week with a curling right-footed shot from the top of the box against FC Cincinnati on Aug. 13, also adding an assist in the match. He then helped lead Atlanta to back-to-back victories against Toronto FC and Orlando City SC on Sept. 10 and 14, scoring the game-winning goal in both matches and claiming his third MLS Goal of the Week, all on strikes from outside the box.
His performances led to five Team of the Week selections (Weeks 11, 12, 25, 30, 31). In addition to his goal scoring ability, Almada proved to be one of the best creators in MLS. He created at least five chances in five matches, including a season-high six chances against Real Salt Lake on July 13 and Charlotte FC on April 10.
Almada received his first call-up and made his Argentina national team debut against Honduras in September as the team made final preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, earning praise from Argentina captain Lionel Messi. He became just the second player from MLS to earn a call-up to Argentina’s senior national team (Pity Martínez, 2019).