Atlanta United defeated Nashville SC in an emphatic 4-0 win Saturday night in front of 67,514 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Four players scored as Xande Silva earned his first club goal in the first half before Thiago Almada, Miles Robinson, and new signing Saba Lobjanidze each found the back of the net in the second half. Atlanta also kept its eighth clean sheet of the year and moved within two points of second place in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta nearly took an early lead in the eighth minute when Almada delivered a perfectly weighted pass to Giorgos Giakoumakis in the center of the box. The striker took one touch to bring it down and attempted to chip goalkeeper Joe Willis but ricocheted off the post.
A counterattack in the 16th minute threatened to produce the game’s first goal as Edwin Mosquera and Caleb Wiley combined down the right flank before the Homegrown squared a low pass for Almada charging inside the box. The Argentine struck the ball first time and beat the keeper but his effort also went off the post.
Calamity nearly struck in the 20th minute when an errant back pass by Tristan Muyumba went straight to Haney Mukhtar but the Nashville striker sent his attempt over the bar.
Atlanta finally broke the deadlock when Almada sent a beautiful cross to switch up play to Xande Silva inside the box. The Portuguese winger blasted a low first-time effort into the bottom right corner for his first goal with the club. It was also Silva’s first appearance with the five stripes.
It’s going well. I think between all of us we have a good attack. Everyone is trying to be at their best level and it’s pushing us forward.”Thiago Almada on playing with Mosquera, Silva, and Giakoumakis
Almada doubled Atlanta’s lead less than a minute into the second half. Good counterpressure from Atlanta allowed Giakoumakis to intercept a backward Nashville pass and immediately send a ball out to the left side for Silva. He quickly played Almada into the box where the Argentine chipped his shot over Willis to the far corner as Jack Maher kicked it into the net while attempting to clear the ball off the line. Almada was credited with his ninth goal of the season.
Robinson made it three when he scored from a corner in the 57th minute. Almada delivered the ball from the left side and placed it right on the head of Robinson, who rose above the defense and nodded it into the right side of goal for just the second goal of his MLS career. It marked Almada’s league-leading 13th assist of the season.
Lobjanidze entered the match for his club debut in the 61st minute and later scored in the 87th minute. Almada started the play near the left sideline and dribbled by a trio of Nashville defenders before laying off a ball for Lobjanidze inside the penalty area. The Georgian international cleverly returned the ball with a one-time backheel to Almada, who again attempted to find Lobjanidze inside the six-yard box for a tap-in. Jack Maher got a touch to Almada’s pass but failed to clear it away from danger as Lobjanidze back-heeled the ball into the goal for the first of his Atlanta United career.
Atlanta United (11-7-8, 41 points) returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium when it hosts FC Cincinnati on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. (MLS Season Pass, 92.9 The Game, La Mejor). All Atlanta United matches are available with MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app.
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD