MLS Saturday: Almada stars as Atlanta United crushes Portland, St. Louis City sets expansion record

Argentine World Cup winner Thiago Almada produced a virtuoso performance and scored twice as Atlanta United beat Portland Timbers, 5-1, in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

Expansion St. Louis City became the first expansion franchise in MLS history to win all four of their opening games after beating San Jose 3-0.

Montreal scored twice in the final minutes for a stunning 3-2 comeback win over last season's runner-up, the Philadelphia Union, while New York City survived a late rally from Wayne Rooney's D.C. United to emerge with a 3-2 win.

The 21-year-old Almada has quickly establishing himself as the most exciting player to watch in MLS and after his brilliant injury time free-kick in the opening week he went one better against the Timbers.

Teenager Caleb Wiley had put Atlanta ahead with a composed finish in the 25th, but on the stroke of half-time Almada struck a pearl of a free-kick from almost 30 yards out into the top corner of the goal.

Greece’s former Celtic striker Giorgos Giakoumakis added the third with a firm header from a pinpoint Wiley cross before midfielder Almada set up Brazilian Luiz Araujo to make it 4-0.

Portland pulled a goal back through Tega Ikoba before Almada completed the rout, crowning his match-winning display by turning on the edge of the box before placing the ball in the bottom corner.

St. Louis made history in its second home game since entering the league as it extended their 100% record with another impressive display.

Nicholas Gioacchini put the home team ahead in the 34rd minute before a solo effort from Brazilian Joao Klauss doubled the advantage on the stroke of halftime. Czech Tomas Ostrak struck the third, with a slightly deflected shot from outside the box as the league's 29th club continued its dream start.

Montreal had lost its opening three games before the visit of Philadelphia, but Honduran Romell Quioto gave it a third minute lead from the penalty spot.

The Union roared back, with two well-taken goals from Danish forward Mikael Uhre either side of the interval putting it in charge.

The game turned though in the 69th minute when Philadelphia's Julian Carranza was sent off after a second bookable offense, leaving his side to defend their lead with 10 men.

Nigerian forward Chinonso Offor bundled in an equalizer in the 90th minute before, in the eighth minute of stoppage time Quioto headed in a dramatic winner at the back post.

New York City went in 2-0 up at halftime against D.C thanks to goals from Brazilian Talles Magno and Uruguayan Santiago Rodriguez. But a header from Belgian Christian Benteke brought the visitors back into the game.

Thiago Andrade restored New York's two goal advantage in the 88th minute only for a Steve Birnbaum header from a corner to give United a glimmer of hope. Birnbaum had a chance to level in stoppage time but this time couldn't get his header on target as NYC picked up its second win of the campaign.

After winning their first two games, both at home, Inter Miami suffered another reverse on the road with second-half goals from Jonathan Osorio and Mark-Anthony Kaye earning the three points for Toronto at a chilly BMO Field.

Seattle dominated for large parts against LAFC with Slovak Albert Rusnak striking the post, but the home side lacked sharpness in front of goal and its early game ended 0-0.

A point against the champions is no disgrace but Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer was far from happy with the outcome: "No. We needed to do better at home. We needed to take some of the half-chances, the build-up that was almost there, and create more full chances. And then perhaps we would have scored the goal," he said.

Orlando City, knocked out of the Concacaf Champions League by Mexico's Tigres in midweek, suffered a blow with a 2-1 home loss to Charlotte who had Argentine Enzo Copetti and Colombian Kerwin Vargas on target.


© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Thiago Almada. Credit: Atlanta United.

2 comments about "MLS Saturday: Almada stars as Atlanta United crushes Portland, St. Louis City sets expansion record".
  1. humble 1, March 20, 2023 at 12:45 p.m.

    Meanwhile, Houston, benched their South American #9 and put on their new French signing and beat cross-state rival Austin 2-0.  There are some very intersting trends in minuted played, goals, scored and roster spots in MLS over the past 5 years - fewer to Americans, including South Americans, and more to Europeans.  SA - you all should be writing this up - before joe-the-blogger twitter-sphere does.  Takes a bit of research, just looking at line-ups, very revealing.  Austin started two Finns at CB front line of 3 Argentines and a Uruguayan (Uruguayan-American, I know, but, he is capped by Uruguay) and only one American.  This is more than a trend - this is a full on pivot.  Almada, yes, he is among the highly paid future stars taking a U22 or DP slot, I'm talking about MF, CB, OBs, GKs, the non-DP slots - these are turning Euro - fast.  I have no issue with this - just that I follow baseball and know how MLB tries to hide latinos, for me I smell same move with MLS.  All the talk about academies, MLS Next, meanwhile, every bloody game the American players for both teams were counted on one-hand, now, the South American's are being replace too!  Make it happen!    

  2. Grant Goodwin, March 22, 2023 at 2:22 p.m.

    Almada is the engine running the team that ATL UTD has missed since Miggy Almiron left for Newcastle.  

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