Brazil Luiz Araújo Nabs His First Team of the Week Honors After Complete Performance Against Miami

When Luiz Araújo lined up to take a free kick right outside the box in the 58th minute, he noticed one thing: the wall was taller than he expected.

“At that moment, I decided to go on the ground to surprise the goalkeeper and the wall,” said Araújo in his post-match press conference after the team’s 2-1 win over Inter Miami CF.

That one observation was enough to put Atlanta United on the board and tie up the game after an Inter Miami penalty, and Josef Martínez’s 72nd slot in behind the keeper was enough to give Atlanta three critical points on Wednesday. Araújo’s goal and overall game performance earned him a spot on this week’s MLS Team of the Week, his first of the season.

The striker’s performance goes well beyond his free kick IQ. Leading the team with six total shots, four on target, Araújo made an impact for the full 89 minutes he spent on the pitch. Additionally, he drew three fouls – which he noted on Wednesday is the only way to stop him and the team.

“Our attack is very fast and at times, the only option is to foul us,” said Araújo when being asked about the 25 fouls against Atlanta. “We have to be focused and ready that every opponent is going to try and do this. We have to be smart and if they foul us in and around the box, we need to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Midfielder Ezequiel Barco also earned recognition from the league on the bench for the MLS Team of the Week, his seventh honor of the season. With a passing accuracy of 87.2% and 82 total touches on the ball, Barco was a key player in Wednesday’s win over Miami.

“Barco is tricky, because even though he is small, he is very, very strong and very resilient, and he does not go down easily,” said head coach Gonzalo Pineda when asked about Barco’s impact on the match. Barco drew a total of 12 fouls, most importantly Araújo’s free kick outside the box.

Barco and Araújo return to action when Atlanta faces Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.