Atlanta United

Thiago Almada: What Gonzalo Pineda expects from starlet at Atlanta United

Chris Smith
Almada's arrival as an Atlanta United player is expected imminently.
Almada's arrival as an Atlanta United player is expected imminently. / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda has outlined what he expects from reported incoming signing Thiago Almada.

The Argentine is yet to be unveiled as an Atlanta United player despite his current club, Velez Sarsfield, announcing he'd completed his move to the United States in December - Atlanta United quickly rebuffed suggestions the transfer was complete.

An Atlanta United spokesperson recently told 90min that the situation remains unchanged in that the club has an 'exclusive transfer option' for Almada. The 20-year-old playmaker has reportedly been cleared from his legal case in Argentina and is expected to link up with his new club in the near future.

Pineda was asked on the latest episode of the Extratime Podcast what he expects from Atlanta United's next Designated Player (DP) signing - Ezequiel Barco's departure to River Plate recently opened up one of the club's three slots. While host Andrew Wiebe avoided putting Pineda on the spot, Almada's name was mentioned.

"We are talking about a player who is going to be creative and produce goals and assists in the final third. That's the main thing, the player we bring [in] has to produce that," Pineda responded. "Normally Atlanta United is investing heavy on that type of player, and normally they get it right.

"The characteristics, he can be a good winger, very good on the one-v-one dribbling to unlock lower blocks. Or he can be a very clever player, a very good connector, similar to Thiago [Almada] as you mentioned."

Pineda was then asked whether or not he expects Atlanta United to have all three of their DP spots filled when they take to the field for their 2022 MLS season opener at home to Sporting Kansas City on February 27.

"I think that's going to be the case, we're going to have three DPs on the field when we face Kansas City in our first game," he responded.

The Five Stripes are currently in Guadalajara, Mexico, for a pre-season training camp and face Club Celaya in a friendly on Sunday.