Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada: ‘trying to give my best for the team’

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Thiago Almada shared with media members Tuesday that his commitment to Atlanta United and his effort on the field have always been at a maximum. With 11 games remaining and a matchup against FC Cincinnati on the horizon, he has been adjusting to a return to the starting lineup.

“Taking it all very calmly,” Almada said. “Just always hoping to play and then trying to give my best for the team.”

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His dedication came into question after some comments made by manager Gonzalo Pineda that he later addressed, combined with tweets by reporters who covered the team. Almada came off the bench for matchups against Orlando City and L.A. Galaxy, stirring conversations. Differing reasons circulated about why Almada was not starting, but he did explain that he was out for two days following the Real Salt Lake match with illness.

“I was a little sick for a couple of days, but then I went back to training, and I’ve been able to come back and show my level and get back to training,” Almada said.

Almada has returned to the starting lineup, playing against the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders. Against the Sounders on Saturday, Almada attempted two shots and had one shot on goal. Although he played a quiet game, he is continuing to show improvement since returning to the field as a starter.

Atlanta United sits two points outside of the playoff line. Almada is needed to improve this team’s probability of making the postseason for the fifth time in its sixth season.

So far this season, Almada has proved why he was a highly sought-after international talent. Almada currently leads the team with six assists and 41 chances created. He stands second on the team with 46 shots and third in shots on goal with 15.

Following Matheus Rossetto’s ankle injury against the Sounders, attacking midfielder Marcelino Moreno was brought into the match to play alongside Almada for the first time this season, with Santiago Sosa switching to be a single defensive midfielder. Pineda previously spoke with coaches about playing the two attacking midfielders.

After an adjustment period, Atlanta United got the hang of the dual attacking midfielders and put to rest questions about Almada and Moreno.

“I think I felt good,” Almada said. “Marcelino and I are both more attacking players, as opposed to defensive midfielders, but I think we did a good job.”

As the year continues, the two are finding their spacing.

“Sometimes in games we’re both just really anxious to receive the ball, but the coach, you know, he’s putting us in the spaces in the best positions for us. So we’re always listening to him and trying to be aggressive when we get to play.”

Thanks to Saturday’s victory over Seattle, things are starting to look better for Pineda’s team as it looks to carry on that momentum to its match against Cincinnati on Saturday. A win will only help this team that is desperately eyeing a chance to make the playoffs.

“I think we’re capable of whatever we were proposing as a team,” Almada said. “So I think we have a great team. You know, we’re all working hard to try and make the playoffs. So I think we’re capable of whatever we set our minds to.”