Atlanta United keeps Thiago Almada

The transfer window for the major leagues in Europe closed Thursday with no offers made for Atlanta United attacking midfielder Thiago Almada.

Manager Gonzalo Pineda said he wasn’t nervous as the club waited to see what might happen with Almada, one of the better players in MLS. Almada was a finalist for MVP and was named the Young Player of the Year after scoring 11 goals with 19 assists in 2023.

A club spokesman said there was interest expressed in Almada.

“Things happen,” Pineda said. “And it’s life. So, I’m just waiting for whatever happens. I wasn’t even paying attention too much to that.”

Pineda said that his tactics are focused on Almada, so nothing will change. The next transfer window will open this summer.

Almada isn’t in camp with Atlanta United. He’s competing on the Argentina Under-23 national team as it tries to qualify for the Olympics. Almada scored two goals in Tuesday’s 5-0 win against Chile. Argentina was scheduled to play Uruguay at 6 p.m. Friday in another match of the group stage. Argentina has secured advancement to the next round, the final group stage.

Almada has said several times in the past that he wants eventually to play in Europe. He is under contract with Atlanta United through the 2026 season.

Personnel updates. Midfielder Bartosz Slisz, acquired from Legia Warsaw in Poland, received his visa earlier this week and has participated in several of the team’s training sessions.

“Very smart player. You can see immediately the amount of ground he can cover and his intelligence on the field to cut passing lanes and regain balls, and then playing forward quickly,” Pineda said. “So I’m very excited to see him tomorrow.”

Centerback Stian Gregersen, another of the team’s winter signings, hasn’t participated in training this week. Pineda said the team is trying to manage his workload. Pineda said that Gregersen was coming off a full season at Bordeaux in France and that his training work will start to increase next week when the team moves camp to Tampa, Florida.

Slisz’s load also may be managed during the friendlies and the regular season, Pineda said.

“It is not easy coming off six months, very hard games, especially him. He’s been playing almost Wednesday, Saturday, very regularly,” Pineda said of Slisz. “I think the travel, all the intricacies that MLS has, we need to take care of him.”

Pineda said the team learned from last season, when Giorgos Giakoumakis joined in the winter window and then Xande Silva, Tristan Muyumba, Saba Lobjanidze and Jamal Thiare arrived during the summer window, some lessons they hope to apply to the players this season who have joined the team from Europe. Some of the lessons include giving them time to spend with their families.

“We are aware of the necessity to manage them in certain ways,” he said.

In addition to Gregersen, players who won’t be available Saturday include Almada, Caleb Wiley (shoulder) and Edwin Mosquera (groin). Wiley participated in the early portions of Friday’s session. Mosquera was seen jogging around the field.

Saturday’s format. The friendly against Memphis at the Turner Soccer Complex in Athens will be two 45-minute halves. Pineda wouldn’t say if the perceived starters would play together for the first 45 minutes, or if, like last week, they would be sprinkled between the two teams that will play each half. Against Birmingham, the teams played three 30-minute periods, with first-teamers scattered among the first two teams.

Pineda said Atlanta United has been working this week mostly on playing from the back and quickly progressing forward with numerical advantages. He hopes to see progress Saturday. Other areas to watch will be the team’s play when it doesn’t have the ball and defending in a middle block, and its pressure.

“It’s a fairly new group, we’re trying to get to know each other quite well and get accustomed to the system,” midfielder Jay Fortune said. “We looked over the last game and saw things we can improve on and defensively on the ball in the build-up and stuff like that.”

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 at Columbus, 2 p.m.

March 9 vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.

March 17 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

March 23 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

March 31 vs. Chicago, 3:30 p.m., FOX

April 6 at NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

April 14 vs. Philadelphia, 2:30 p.m., FOX

April 20 vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

April 27 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.

May 4 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

May 15 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

May 18 at Nashville, 1:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m.

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.