Luiz Araújo and Brooks Lennon were named to the MLS Team of the Matchday presented by Audi, the league announced Thursday. The two were honored for their performance in Atlanta United’s midweek 4-0 shutout win over Colorado Rapids in Matchday 13.
It’s Araújo’s first time on the list this season. In Wednesday’s match, the Brazilian scored in the 80th minute, showing his speed on a breakaway down the right side. He cut inside then coolly slipped the ball into the net for his third goal of the season.
The assist on Araújo’s goal was given to his counterpart on the league’s list, Lennon. The fullback recorded his third multi-assist game of his career with two assists on the night, bringing his season total to six. Only Thiago Almada has more assists for Atlanta United on the season (7) and the two have combined for 13 on the year.
Lennon’s second assist of the night was on the goal scored by Giorgos Giakoumakis in the 90th minute. Working out of the back, Lennon played a long ball to Giakoumakis who had entered the match in the 53rd minute for Atlanta United. The Greek striker did the rest, recording his sixth goal in just nine MLS appearances to seal the victory for the 5-Stripes.
“We were in the present moment tonight, and you could see that,” Lennon said. “The energy that we brought, from minute one to minute 90, we were all over them. And that’s what we need every game.”
The finish gave Giakoumakis a spot on the bench on this edition of MLS Team of the Matchday along with his teammate and fellow leading scorer, Almada. The Argentine opened the scoring Wednesday when Derrick Etienne Jr. drew a foul and won a free kick for Atlanta United. Almada stepped up and converted from roughly 25 yards out, placing the ball over Colorado’s four-man wall to net his third goal of the season from a direct free kick.
“What’s important is that we always show the same attitude, urgency, intensity in every action and I felt that today. We did a very good job on that,” Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said.
It’s the third time this season that Atlanta United has been represented by two players on MLS Team of the Matchday. Miles Robinson and Caleb Wiley both appeared after Atlanta United’s 3-0 win over Charlotte FC in Matchday 3. Wiley and Almada together represented the 5-Stripes after the 5-1 rout over Portland Timbers for Matchday 4.
Wednesday’s 4-0 win snapped a three-match winless streak for the 5-Stripes in MLS play and the individual honors followed. Thursday’s announcement was the first time Atlanta United players were honored on Team of the Matchday since Almada and Wiley on March 20.
“We’ve come off three bad losses, and we were very disappointed as a group, but we didn’t dwell on those past bad performances. We got back to work on the training field and that’s what’s going to happen. If you work hard, good things are going to happen," Lennon said.
Match Highlights: Atlanta United vs. Colorado Rapids | May 17, 2023