Team of the Matchday

Giorgos Giakoumakis, Gonzalo Pineda earn MLS Team of the Matchday 27 honors

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Atlanta United snagged three points on the road Sunday night with a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC. The strong performance earned striker Giorgos Giakoumakis and head coach Gonzalo Pineda spots on the MLS Team of the Matchday. Midfielder Tristan Muyumba was also named to the Team of the Matchday bench.

Both of Atlanta’s goals came from the Greek striker, one in each half. The first goal arrived in the 11th minute after defender Brooks Lennon earned a corner on the right side. Lennon took the kick and connected with Giakoumakis in the middle of the box, where he redirected the ball with a powerful header. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei got his fingertips on the ball but was unable to keep it out of the net.

Giakoumakis scored his second header of the night in the 65th minute. Muyumba won the ball at midfield and progressed the play into the final third. Atlanta connected a few passes on the left side before midfielder Thiago Almada sent the ball into the box, again finding Giakoumakis in the air. The striker headed the ball down, perfectly placing it out of Frei’s reach to extend Atlanta’s lead.

Giakoumakis now sits at 12 goals on the season in 18 matches, leading the league in goals per 90 minutes (1.02). He is just one goal away from the top spot in the Golden Boot race.

The second goal started with Muyumba, whose impact was felt on both ends of the field all night. He finished the match with a 93% pass accuracy, winning seven duels and three tackles. The midfielder earned a spot on the Matchday bench in just his second appearance with the 5-Stripes and his first MLS start.

The Coach of the Matchday honor is Pineda’s first of the 2023 MLS season. Heading into Sunday, Pineda stressed the importance of the match against Seattle. Atlanta United entered the contest having dropped their previous two MLS meetings and faced an early group stage exit in Leagues Cup. The performance Sunday was good, according to Pineda, and he called the win a “well-deserved three points.”

“I felt that we have been working very hard, the staff and players, in certain things that were important from now on,” Pineda said. “Try to get a push to make top-4 and playoffs. Today we showed that we can do it.”

Pineda is one of several ties between Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders. He served as an influential member of Seattle’s coaching staff as an assistant for five seasons and often credits Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer as a significant mentor. Pineda also made 56 league appearances for the Sounders as a player.

It was the third road win of the season for the 5-Stripes and their seventh clean sheet this year. With the win, Atlanta is now only three points out of third place in the standings with 38 points. They are tied with southern rival Nashville SC, who will face the 5-Stripes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this Saturday, August 26.

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