A sparking Atlanta United offense faces a tough D.C. United defense

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis #7 celebrates after a goal during the second half of the match against New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday May 31, 2023. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United

Credit: Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis #7 celebrates after a goal during the second half of the match against New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday May 31, 2023. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United, coming off arguably its best offensive performance this MLS season with five goals Saturday against Miami, will face a unique test Wednesday at D.C. United.

Wayne Rooney’s team hasn’t allowed a goal in the past 322 minutes.

While one team is scoring its way toward securing a playoff spot, the other is grinding its way. Atlanta United (12-8-9) is in sixth place. D.C. United (9-12-8) is in the ninth and final playoff spot.

“They are their warriors,” Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “They are a team that is very competitive. To me, their coach, their franchise in general, when you go to their stadium, they are fighting almost always.”

Atlanta United’s offense has looked overpowering in many of its matches since the Leagues Cup. The team has scored 14 goals in its past five games. The goals are coming from everywhere: Right wings Edwin Mosquera and Saba Lobjanidze, striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, attacking midfielder Thiago Almada, left wingers Xande Silva and Tyler Wolff, central midfielder Tristan Muyumba, right fullback Brooks Lennon and centerback Miles Robinson all have tallied.

“I’ll say that again, it’s the players, always,” Pineda said of the recent success. “The type of players we have, the understanding from their side on how we want to play and their execution. But I will say that yes, the aggression is good. The intensity is fantastic. Everyone is working both sides of the ball. That’s great to us.”

With the goals may come awards. Giakoumakis’ four goals in the past five matches have moved him into a tie in the race for the Golden Boot, with 14 goals. Almada’s five assists have put him atop the league leaders for assists, with 15, which also is a franchise record – with five matches remaining.

Giakoumakis said he doesn’t have a prediction as to how many goals it will take to win the Golden Boot, but he said it is something he wants to win.

He said the team winning matches is more important, and he thinks that it is mentally stronger than it was earlier in the season. He said that is partially because of the new signees: Silva, Lobjanidze and Muyumba.

“Right now we have a very strong unit,” Giakoumakis said. “We have had very, very good, very good results, the last games, and our confidence is really high. We hope to keep going like that.”

Pineda said the team still can improve. He said he doesn’t like when the team starts playing “ping pong,” when they lose the ball while attacking and the opponent counters.

He said it doesn’t mean his team shouldn’t attack when it has an opportunity. He does prefer that it maintain its control and possession.

“That’s better for us because that’s who we are and how we play,” he said.

For more content about Atlanta United

Follow me on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now

On Instagram at DouglasDavidRoberson

Atlanta United coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern Fried Soccer podcast can be found

Apple - https://apple.co/3ISD6Ve

Spotify - https://spoti.fi/3L8TN0C

Google podcasts - https://bit.ly/32KlZW3

If you are listening to us for the first time, please follow us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast ... and if you like what you hear, please give us a good rating so we can grow the show. If you have questions about the MLS team, you can email Doug Roberson at droberson@ajc.com, DM him on Twitter @dougrobersonajc or call 404-526-2527.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a special offer for our podcast listeners. If you subscribe today, you can get three months of unlimited digital access for just 99 cents. That’s all of our sports coverage, politics, breaking news, investigations, food and dining, and so much more on AJC.com. Plus, access to our ePaper and our assortment of newsletters. So, join our community by going to subscribe.ajc.com/podcasts that’s subscribe.ajc.com/podcasts so you always know what’s really going on.

Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1

April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1

April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2

April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1

April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1

May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1

May 13 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 1

May 17 Atlanta United 4, Colorado 0

May 20 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 3

May 27 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

May 31 Atlanta United 3, New England 3

June 7 Atlanta United 0, LAFC 0

June 10 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 1

June 21 Atlanta United 2, New York City 2

June 24 New York Red Bulls 4, Atlanta United 0

July 2 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 0

July 8 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

July 12 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

July 15 Orlando City 2, Atlanta United 1

July 25 Miami 4, Atlanta United 0 in Leagues Cup

July 29 Cruz Azul 1 (5), Atlanta United (4) 1 in Leagues Cup

Aug. 20 Atlanta United 2, Seattle 0

Aug. 26 Atlanta United 4, Nashville 0

Aug. 30 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

Sept. 2 Atlanta United 2, FC Dallas 2

Sept. 16 Atlanta United 5, Inter Miami 2

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, 6 p.m.