Atlanta United’s first back-to-back wins of the season mean back-to-back league honors for the club. On Thursday, the league announced that midfielder Thiago Almada and fullback Andrew Gutman landed on the midweek MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi. The pair synced up for Atlanta’s game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Orlando City SC on Wednesday night.
Almada makes the list for the second consecutive time. He was also named on Monday after the team’s 4-2 win over Toronto FC. In Wednesday night’s showdown with Orlando City SC, the midfielder from Argentina scored the lone goal in the 72nd minute. He also finished the match completing 83.7 percent of his passes.
Thursday marks the fourth time this season that Almada has been named to the MLS Team of the Week. He also was awarded the honors in back-to-back weeks in May.
Almada has been outstanding for the 5-Stripes, especially of late. Wednesday was his second consecutive match scoring the go-ahead goal. On the season, Almada has six goals and 11 assists. His play has also been getting international buzz. As of Thursday morning, Almada was officially called up to the Argentina men’s national team for September friendlies against Honduras and Jamaica.
“I think the team is playing better, we’re starting to understand each other better,” Almada said. “Obviously, after two wins in a row it gives a lot of confidence.”
Gutman joins Almada as the second member of the 5-Stripes to be named to the MLS Team of the Week on Thursday. The defender laid it off to set up Almada’s goal and record his second assist of the season, his second in as many matches.
Since returning from a quad injury that kept him sidelined for several weeks, Gutman has been a spark for Atlanta United. He saw his first minutes on July 30 against Chicago Fire, and steadily built up his fitness from there. In his next match on August 6, he scored a golazo against Seattle Sounders in second-half stoppage time that won the game. Since then, Gutman’s gone on to score two more goals to bring his total to three on the season, a career best.
“Obviously, I’m a defender first and I’m making sure I’m solid in the back, but Gonzo [Pineda] and I’ve spoken a lot about that he does want me to attack. He does want me exploit those spaces that maybe defenders don’t think about,” Gutman said last week. “I feel like when Luiz [Araújo] or Thiago or any of these guys that are very dangerous in attack have the ball, defenders kind of zone in on them, and then there’s those areas on the field that are wide open. And that’s where I’m trying to fill in the gaps. And a couple of times I’m getting lucky and scoring a goal.”
It’s the second consecutive time that two 5-Stripes made MLS Team of the Week. On Monday, Almada was honored along with center back Juanjo Purata. The two combined for four second-half goals, including a hat trick from Purata all on headers, to defeat Toronto FC 4-2 on September 10. Almada’s goal against Toronto was also voted Goal of the Week.
Atlanta United looks to continue its winning streak on Saturday, Sept. 17 when it hosts Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia Union. It’s also Hispanic Heritage Night, so don’t wait and secure your seat today!