Major League Soccer handed out its latest end of season award on Monday, naming Atlanta United attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron its Newcomer of the Year for 2017. The dynamic playmaker finished ahead of the Chicago Fire‘s Nemanja Nikolic and his teammate Josef Martinez among others in voting for the honor. Almirón is also in the running for the Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award.
9 Goals. 14 Assists.
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 20, 2017
Miguel Almiron Named MLS Newcomer of the Year
The 23-year-old put together a multifaceted campaign for the Five Stripes in their inaugural MLS campaign. In 30 regular season appearances that included 27 starts, Almiron scored nine goals and added a team high 14 assists. The latter total was tied for fourth best in the league with Columbus Crew SC’s Federico Higuain, FC Dallas‘ Michael Barrios and Real Salt Lake‘s Albert Rusnak.
His contributions played a key role in Atlanta’s dynamic attack. The club finished with more goals than any other expansion team in league history and was one of two in 2017, Toronto FC being the other, to eclipse the 70-goal mark during the regular season. In addition to Monday’s award, Almiron made the MLS All-Star team and the league also named him the number top-ranked player in its annual 24 Under 24 list.
Atlanta signed Almiron on December 5, 2016, making him the second designated player in club history. Prior to that, he spent time with Cerro Porteño in his native Paraguay and later with Lanus in Argentina’s top flight. He’s also been a fixture with the Paraguayan national team at various age levels, and currently has ten caps with the senior side.
A Deserved Honor
Almiron taking home this award doesn’t come as much of a surprise. His exploits as Atlanta’s central playmaker played a major role in them becoming the first expansion team since the 2009 Seattle Sounders to qualify for the playoffs. Though they inevitably fell to Columbus in the knockout round, 2017 certainly qualifies as a success on the field for the Five Stripes. And Almiron was at the forefront of it all. It’s a reason he’s drawn interest from clubs in Europe, with rumors of them willing to submit an eight-figure transfer fee for his services. For the time being, though, Atlanta fans can expect to see Almiron figuring prominently into their plans next season.