Thiago Almada was awarded 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year, the league announced on Tuesday, capping the midfielder's strong first-year campaign for Atlanta United. Almada, who joined the club in February as a Designated Player signing, led Atlanta United in assists (12) and finished tied for third on the team in goals scored (6).
The award recognizes the year’s most impactful new MLS player with prior professional experience. Almada beat out fellow finalists Juan ‘Cucho’ Hernández of Columbus Crew and Djordje Petrović of New England Revolution. It's the second time an Atlanta United player has earned the award. Paraguayan international Miguel Almirón was named MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2017 during the club’s inaugural season.
It's Almada's first year-end award. Throughout the season, the 21-year-old from Argentina earned praise from MLS with his stellar foot skills and shot-creating abilities. In 2022, he was named to the MLS Team of the Week five times, including back-to-back on September 12 and 15. He also won Goal of the Week twice in Week 25 and Week 30.
The stats from Almada's season reflect his strong 2022 campaign. He started 25 of his 29 MLS appearances and recorded four games with at least a goal and an assist, tied for the most in a single season in club history. Almada was one of only six players in MLS to record at least 12 assists and five goals during the season.
Almada is one of two Atlanta United players so far to win a year-end award. Last week, the league announced Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez won AT&T Goal of the Year for his bicycle kick on October 1.
The Year-End award comes on the heels of a brilliant blooming Almada showed in his first MLS season. Last month, he was named no. 2 on the 22 Under 22 List presented by BODYARMOR. Almada made his senior international debut for Argentina on September 23 in an international friendly against Honduras. His play earned the praise of world-class star and Argentina's captain Lionel Messi.
Almada led the list of year-end awards for Atlanta United, receiving three nominations, the most out of any Atlanta player. He was also nominated for 2022 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player and was a finalist for Young Player of the Year.
The vote for Newcomer of the Year was determined by a mix of current players, club technical staffs and media members.