Thiago Almada returns to Atlanta following Argentina's Olympic qualification


Thiago Almada joined Atlanta United at training this week heading into the team's first match of the 2024 MLS regular season. The club opens the season Saturday, Feb. 24 against the defending MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew.

The midfielder has been away with the Argentina U-23 men's national team at the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic tournament. As of last week, Almada and Argentina successfully qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris, which is coming up this summer.

Named last year's MLS Young Player of the Year for his 11 goals and 19 assists, Almada excelled during the international competition. He finished the tournament as the leading scorer with five goals. In the group stage match against Chile, Almada alone scored two goals and added an assist.

Almada missed most of Atlanta United's preseason and did not play in any of the club's five preseason friendlies. However, he's been quickly integrated into training at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground as the group prepares for Columbus.

"We all know Thiago," midfielder Saba Lobjanidze said Tuesday. "I think if he's fit, he can play, easy. We are so happy he's back, and I'm so happy about him going to the Olympics."

Upon his return to Atlanta, the 22-year-old had a special message for the 17s:

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