September may only have 30 days, but the events of this month were impactful. With four matches, a FIFA date and records made, the 5-Stripes had a busy September.
In their second meeting of the season, Atlanta welcomed Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for an action-packed match. As we approach the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, every point proved crucial, and this match was no different. Off a header from Edwin Mosquera, Almada received the ball and dribbled past three defenders to score a Thiagolazo just outside the box. Almada’s goal was a right-footed beauty that landed in the corner of the goal perfectly out of the reach of the Toronto keeper.
A Rivalry As Old As Time... or 2017
Rivalries are as old as time. Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, Tom and Jerry... And while some may have been established for longer, the rivalry between Atlanta United and Orlando City SC is always an entertaining one.
In the second match up between these southern rivals on September 14, Atlanta took the lead in the 72nd minute with a goal from Almada. The lead was constantly tested by the Orlando attack, but Raúl Gudiño kept his goal at zero and made incredible saves along the way, including the Save of the Month. Orlando was pressing fast in Atlanta’s box and all Tesho Akindele had to do was chip in the ball. When the striker found a spot to shoot, Gudiño was prepared and cleared the shot to preserve the Atlanta win.
Unite and Conquer
September marked the beginning of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. Atlanta United raises awareness through the Unite and Conquer Cancer program. This month Atlanta hosted various families with cancer survivors and patients at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. Four families got to spend the day with four Atlanta United Players, exploring different places around the city. Atlanta also had cancer survivor Davis Cobb design the scarf of the month and cancer fighter Jacob Bannister design custom number that all Atlanta United players wore during 4-2 win over Toronto FC on September 10.
Guayo Does It Again
Since his signing, Thiago Almada has garnered the attention of the 17s and the world for his style of play. Almada is quick on the ball, making him a difficult opponent in the midfield. This month, Almada scored two goals, one assist and 13 chances created. This month Almada got more recognition as he was named no. 2 in the MLS 22 under 22 list presented by BODYAMOUR and earned his first call-up to the Argentina senior national team. He made an appearance in Argentina’s first friendly and received praise from seven-time Balon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.
Air Force JUAN
A hat trick is an incredible feat for anyone, but to score a hat trick as a center back and have all the goals be a result of headers is other worldly. The September 10 match against Toronto was a must win for the 5-Stripes, and the team came out as determined as always to secure three points at home. Since his arrival to the club, Juanjo Purata has proven to be solid on the backline but has also shown his aerial game is dangerous when he finds a pocket. This game was no exception. Not once, not twice, but three times Purata found the pocket and headed the ball in for a goal off a corner kick, becoming the first player since 2010 to score three headed goals in a single MLS match, the fourth player in club history to score a hat trick and the highest scoring defender in club history.