Giakoumakis, Almada say Atlanta United must keep working

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada #10 scores a goal during the match against the D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Saturday May 11, 2024. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitch Martin

Credit: Mitch Martin

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada #10 scores a goal during the match against the D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Saturday May 11, 2024. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada, two of Atlanta United’s most important players, recognized that the team is in a rut but expressed confidence it will soon start winning again.

The Five Stripes were beaten 3-2 by D.C. United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was the team’s third consecutive loss at home, a franchise low, and stretched its winless streak within MLS to six.

Boos could be heard at the end of the first half and at game’s end as the supporters expressed their opinions of the team’s form.

“As players we are also very hurt,” said Almada, who scored the team’s first goal on a penalty kick. “So, all we can do is continue working and try to be able to give them joy on the field and we have to just keep moving forward.”

Giakoumakis twice described the performance as “embarrassing.” D.C. United finished with 2.3 expected goals to Atlanta United’s 1.5. D.C. United created six Big Chances to Atlanta United’s 1 and put six shots on goal to Atlanta United’s three.

Giakoumakis and Almada combined to put on goal two of their 10 shots. Giakoumakis said he normally will talk to his teammates but after Saturday he said nothing because of his disappointment. He said he can’t score if he doesn’t get service, so he needs to find his belief.

“Our confidence is nowhere near at the levels we want it to be,” Giakoumakis said. “So, everything we do on the field is more difficult - to do something positive, something good, to have our connections, or our combinations - anything is getting harder to show up on the pitch. So, we have to be patient, and what we need is a win to get back where we were, and to find our confidence again and to move on from there. But today was just embarrassing.”

Even manager Gonzalo Pineda, normally optimistic, recognized that Saturday’s performance was sub-par. He described the team’s sloppy play, a streak going on three matches. He also discussed how the team was typically second to win loose balls. D.C. United’s first two goals came from it winning loose balls.

“I feel like the players are putting everything in and giving everything they can,” he said. “They are running, they are chasing, but today we were not sharp on the ball in certain moments, we were not cohesive, and it was difficult.”

Atlanta United has very little time to fix its issues. Saturday’s match was the third in a stretch of nine within 30 days. It will play at Cincinnati on Wednesday and at Nashville on Saturday. It has taken just two points from four road matches.

Almada said poor stretches happen and it’s important that the team stays together.

The team should get a boost by the returns of centerback Stian Gregersen (concussion) and Derrick Williams (calf), and winger Xande Silva, who has come off the bench in the past two matches. Almada said it’s important for the players to stay together.

“What we’ll have to do is just work, nothing else,” Giakoumakis said. “Work, try to have our heads up, and most importantly, try to realize where we are right now. We need to stay down on the ground and stop flying, because I feel like sometimes we have this bad habit - when we win one or two games, we fly a little bit - we have to stay on the ground and be more humble. So now, we have to work even more to get back there.”

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

April 20 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

April 27 Atlanta United 1, Chicago 1

May 4 Minnesota 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte Independence 0 in U.S. Open Cup

May 11 D.C. United 3, Atlanta United 2

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.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 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.