Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada named MLS Young Player of Year

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (23) kicks a free kick that ended at Colorado Rapids’ goal during the first half against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Atlanta.
Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (23) kicks a free kick that ended at Colorado Rapids’ goal during the first half against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez /

Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada won his second major MLS award on Monday when he was voted to be the Young Player of the Year.

Almada was named the Newcomer of the Year last season when he scored six goals with 12 assists. Almada built on that by scoring 11 goals and posting a league-high 19 assists this season. He received more votes than Orlando’s Duncan McGuire (10.7 average percent of vote) and Columbus’ Aidan Morris (6.91). Almada is also one of three finalists to be named MLS MVP.

“I’m happy; I think it’s an award that shows the work that I’ve put in and what I’ve accomplished during the season,” Almada said on Monday. “But as I’ve always said, the most important thing is the team. So we’re focused on that and I’m very grateful for from my teammates.”

The award is voted on by members of club front offices, players and journalists who cover teams and the league. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn’t participate in voting. The award is for any player who is 22 years old or younger during the calendar year.

Almada also led Atlanta United in shots (109), shots on goal (43), chances created (93), big chances created (25), duels won (177) and fouls won (56). He scored two goals from penalty kicks and three from free kicks.

“I think it’s a recognition not just for him, but for the whole team,” manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “(It) has been very good, very consistent.”

Almada is the second Atlanta United player to receive an MLS award. Giorgos Giakoumakis was named the Newcomer of the Year last week.

Atlanta United will host Columbus on Tuesday in the second game of their best-of-three playoff series. Columbus won the first match 2-0.

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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 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 1

Sept. 23 Atlanta United 4, Montreal 1

Oct. 4 Philadelphia 3, Atlanta United 2

Oct. 7 Atlanta United 1, Columbus 1

Oct. 21 Atlanta United 2, Cincinnati 2

Nov. 1 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 0