Thiago Almada scored his eighth goal and contributed his MLS-leading 10th assist, and Atlanta United overcame a first-half injury departure to Giorgos Giakoumakis to earn a 2-0 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon.
Brooks Lennon added his second goal of the season for Atlanta (8-5-8, 32 points), which won for just the second time in an eight-match stretch, a period that has included five draws.
Brad Guzan required only one save to keep his fourth clean sheet of the season against an unusually tepid Union attack, which perhaps wasn’t expecting Atlanta to deploy a three-center back setup.
The only downside was the early exit of Giakoumakis, who leads Atlanta with 10 goals. It was revealed afterward that he sustained a hamstring injury.
The Union (10-6-4, 34 points) were held scoreless for the first time in eight matches, but in their second consecutive visit to Atlanta after a 0-0 draw in 2022. They’re now winless in their last three on the road (0-2-1).
Almada gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the seventh after a complicated sequence of events in the Philadelphia penalty area.
Initially, referee Ted Unkel awarded a penalty kick for what he perceived to be a foul by Nathan Harriel on Giakoumakis inside the area.
Following a replay review, Unkel revised his decision to rule the foul had occurred just outside the box instead and awarded a free kick there.
Almada struck his initial attempt from that set piece into Philadelphia’s defensive wall. But the rebound fell kindly for him to rip a half-volley on the second attempt that sailed through traffic, past goalkeeper Joe Bendik and into the net.
Giakoumakis departed in the 30th minute, leaving the field tinder his own power but at a slowed walk. The Greek international previously went about 20 days between appearances in late April and early May while hampered by injury,
Philly pushed forward but rarely threatened before Lennon put the game away in the 79th minute. After Almada weaved in tight space in the box, he laid the ball off to his right for Lennon to power past Bendik, who got an arm to the effort.