Atlanta United’s Giorgos Giakoumakis says ‘just feed me’ and delivers with three goals

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis (7) reacts after scoring his second goal off of a header during the second half against the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Atlanta. Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis scored three goals in the game. Atlanta United won 4-1. (Jason Getz / jason.getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis (7) reacts after scoring his second goal off of a header during the second half against the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Atlanta. Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis scored three goals in the game. Atlanta United won 4-1. (Jason Getz / jason.getz@ajc.com)

Giorgos Giakoumakis jumped into the Golden Boot conversation on Saturday with three goals, two spectacular, in Atlanta United’s 4-1 win over New England.

Giakoumakis secured his first career MLS hat trick and fourth multi-goal game of his career.

“Even from yesterday, I was talking to the guys and said, ‘Just feed me, I have a good feeling,’” Giakoumakis said. “I was ready, I was working all this time. We had a bad game the first game of the season and we didn’t start well.”

Giakoumakis’ big day brewed before the goals. He won Thiago Almada’s penalty kick, which he scored, and nearly sent shockwaves throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium at the 48th minute. The forward took a shot from the right side of the box but missed high, falling to the new turf and bending backwards in frustration.

This weight lifted seven minutes later, though, as Giakoumakis found the back of the net during Atlanta’s second penalty-kick opportunity. The 29-year-old was quickly swarmed by his teammates, picking up midfielder Almada and handing out multiple hugs.

Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda credited his attacker’s rise in the second half to his mindset.

“It’s normally about how they are up here,” Pineda said. “The mentality, the patience and believing that the chances are going to come. It’s (Giakoumakis’) confidence too. Once he scored the first one, the next one came, and the next one came and I think it was a positive reward for him.”

Expected to score 1.48 goals in the match, Giakoumakis eclipsed that mark five minutes later.

Defender Brooks Lennon’s back-post cross from the right side of the field headed toward Giakoumakis, who was pinched between two New England defenders. Seconds later, he raced past the two and headed it past goalie Henrich Ravas.

“(Brooks) knows exactly where I’m going to be, so it was something I was waiting for,” Giakoumakis said. “It was one of the goals that we’ve scored sometimes last year and we’ve tried to figure it out again how we’re going to do it, how we’re going to progress the ball from defense to attack really fast with a nice playing style.”

Giakoumakis capped the high-scoring night at the 74th minute, chesting Almada’s bounce pass and immediately booting it into the top-right corner of the net before the ball could touch the ground.

The forward ran to the goal line and stretched his arms out to celebrate and absorb the crowd’s excitement. Afterward, he raised three fingers, moving them in a circle to signify his feat.

“I enjoyed it and it was also the hat trick,” Giakoumakis said. “The second one is one of my signature goals — the header, but the third one was something I don’t do pretty often.”

Giakoumakis has made it clear his pursuit for the Golden Boot, which goes to the regular–season leading scorer. He mentioning after the match that the selection committee “knows who I am.” Last season, he finished with just four less goals than winner Dénis Bouanga.

Pineda understands Giakoumakis’ objective and pointed out how each player has different objectives they want to accomplish. The manager, though, is focused on winning the MLS Cup and believes that Giakoumakis’ strong play and winning the Golden Boot will help them achieve that goal.

“I’m very happy with him having a big, big goal of being a Golden Boot,” Pineda said. “I’m very happy for him scoring three goals, but I’m happy because it helped us win today. That’s the most important thing, three points for the team.”