Things learned in Atlanta United’s win: Tests needed for Giakoumakis’ injured knee

Atlanta United forward Jamal Thiaré (29) looks at the goal as he scored, but it was called an offside during the second half against the Chicago Fire at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, March 31, 2024.
 Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Atlanta United forward Jamal Thiaré (29) looks at the goal as he scored, but it was called an offside during the second half against the Chicago Fire at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, March 31, 2024. Miguel Martinez /

Wearing a Braves jersey with the name Acuña Jr. on the back, Atlanta United striker Giorgos Giakoumakis walked around the team’s locker room after its 3-0 victory against Chicago on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Giakoumakis, who scored his team-leading fifth goal in the 45th minute to give Atlanta United a 1-0 lead, twice was examined by trainers after his right knee collided with the knee of a Chicago defender early in the first half.

Giakoumakis was subbed off in the 64th minute. Manager Gonzalo Pineda said Giakoumakis would undergo testing.

“I hope the MRIs and all that comes out well, but we have to wait a little bit,” Pineda said.

Atlanta United will play NYCFC at Citi Field on Saturday.

Should Giakoumakis be forced to miss that game, the team may take some comfort in Jamal Thiare, who came in for Giakoumakis, scoring the team’s final two goals against Chicago. They were his first two goals for the club.

Thiare’s first goal was Gaikoumakis-like, a powerful back-post header from an assist by Brooks Lennon. His second was opportunistic, coming after the team pushed Chicago back into its own 18-yard box and fired several shots.

“He’s becoming very important,” Pineda said. “It’s always good to have two strikers that can score at any moment. I think is the first time that we feel like we have two guys that are able to score goals at any moment.”

The goals came on Thiare’s 31st birthday, which seems like they may be the only gift he enjoyed.

“I’m usually a person that never celebrates their birthday,” he said. “I’m a person that constantly stays in their own bubble and does their own thing. It was awesome that it happened to be my birthday today, and on top of that to score. Going forward I’m probably going to stay calm, no celebrations whatsoever. I’m just going to keep working.”

Lobjanidze runs and runs and runs. Winger Saba Lobjanidze notched two assists and may have run from Atlanta to Tbilisi in his native Georgia to do it. It was his second multi-assist match for Atlanta United. He created seven chances in the match, a team-high this season. The previous best was four by Thiago Almada.

Lobjanidze said part of his extreme work rate is his motivation to be called into Georgia for this summer’s European championships. He has 35 appearances for Georgia.

Lobjanidze wasn’t called into Georgia’s team for its two recent qualifying matches. He very much wants to be called into the team for the Euros. Georgia will play Turkey on June 18, Czech Republic on June 22 and Portugal on June 26.

“Obviously, I always want to give 100 percent for my (national) team, but to be able to go to the European Championship is amazing for the country, for the people in Georgia, and for the players,” he said. “They are my brothers, and we are like family, so I am so happy for all of them. Who doesn’t want to play in the Euros though, so I will do my best to represent again.”

Cobb starts again. Noah Cobb, 18 years old, started his second consecutive match in place of the injured Stian Gregersen.

“Outstanding,” Pineda said. “I would say he played outstanding.”

Cobb and centerback Derrick Williams helped limit Chicago to three shots on goal and snuffed out its eight chances created. It was the team’s second consecutive shutout at home.

“He’s really helped me,” Cobb said of Williams. “He’s really been on me in the training sessions about communication and aggressiveness and being aggressive at the right times. The level of accountability that he holds me to is really good. The training pitch translates to the game. That communication that we have is really good and I think that’s what helped us.”

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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 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.

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.