ATLANTA, GEORGIA—-The 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year title was given to midfielder Thiago Almada on Tuesday, concluding the midfielder’s successful first season with Atlanta United. Almada, a Designated Player who joined the team in February, was third on the team in goals scored and led Atlanta United with 12 assists (6).

The most significant new MLS player with past professional experience is honored with this award. Almada prevailed over fellow finalists Djordje Petrovi of the New England Revolution and Juan “Cucho” Hernández of the Columbus Crew. A player for Atlanta United has received the honor twice. During the club’s maiden season, international from Paraguay Miguel Almirón won the MLS Newcomer of the Year award in 2017.

This is Almada’s inaugural year-end honor. During the season, the 21-year-old Argentine received acclaim from MLS for his superb footwork and shot-creating capabilities. He received five MLS Team of the Week honors in 2022, including back-to-back selections on September 12 and 15. In weeks 25 and 30, he also won the award twice. Almada’s incredible 2022 season is reflected in his season statistics. His four games with at least a goal and an assist were matched most in a single season in club history.

He started 25 of his 29 MLS matches. Almada was one of only six MLS players to finish the season with at least 12 assists and five goals. Almada is one of two players from Atlanta United that have received a year-end honor so far. According to the league, Atlanta United striker Josef Martnez received the AT&T Goal of the Year award last week for his bicycle kick on October 1.

The Year-End award follows the excellent performance Almada displayed throughout his first MLS season. He was ranked second on the 22 Under 22 List provided by BODYARMOR last month. On September 23, Almada made his senior international debut for Argentina against Honduras in a friendly match. Lionel Messi, a world-class athlete and the captain of Argentina, praised his performance.

Almada received three nominations, the most of any Atlanta United player, to take the top spot on the year-end awards list. Additionally, he was a finalist for Young Player of the Year and a nominee for the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award. A combination of current players, club technical staff, and media members cast votes for Newcomer of the Year.