Brad Guzan tallies first career MLS assist on Jamal Thiaré goal


ATL - Jamal Thiaré (Mosquera, Guzan)

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not a stat that often lists a goalkeeper’s name, but Brad Guzan made it happen Saturday night in Queens, New York as the Atlanta United goalkeeper was credited with a secondary assist on the team’s lone goal of the night.

With Atlanta United trailing a goal to New York City FC, the assist set up the equalizer scored by Jamal Thiaré in the 65th minute. The play went end-to-end and happened quickly, starting at the feet of Guzan. He sent a long ball up the right flank that Edwin Mosquera could run on to. The speedy winger chased it down and sent a precise cross with his first touch. Thiaré, flying into the box, beat his defender to drive a header far post for the striker’s third goal in two matches.

The goal ended up being the equalizer. Atlanta United and New York City FC tied 1-1 for the first road point of the year for the 5-Stripes.

“We talked before the second half, ‘Hey, let’s come out and try to find this goal early,’” Guzan said. “It didn’t come early and that’s okay. We continued to probe and continued to create a chance or half chance here and there, get into dangerous areas on the field and we were rewarded with a good goal.”

The assist was Guzan’s first in MLS. Incidentally, it was not the first assist in the goalkeeper’s 19-year career. Guzan did tally an assist while he played for Aston Villa in the English Premier League. His first career assist came in 2013 during a match between Aston Villa and Manchester City. That play, another long boot, set up the game-winner scored by Austrian international Andreas Weimann.

When asked about it during post-match media availability on Saturday, the goalkeeper called his assist with Atlanta United “a lot more accurate” than the one he had at Aston Villa.

“This pass was a little more intentional than that one,” Guzan said. “But you know what? They both count. So, it’s alright.”

His MLS assist arrives during what has been a very strong start to the season for the 39-year-old captain. In the first six matches of the season, Guzan has tallied two clean sheets. Atlanta United, tied with FC Cincinnati, has allowed the fewest goals of the season (5) in MLS and ranks tied for second in goal difference (+5).

“I have tons of respect for him. I think I’ve seen many, many good performances from Brad, and today was another one,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said after the match. “He gets that first assist in his MLS history for him. Happy for that. But I think overall it was a team performance. Everyone was fighting and chasing and that’s the spirit I like.”

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