The game was played before a sold-out Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, continuing the nationwide party since Argentina’s World Cup title in early December. That’s when Lionel Scaloni’s team won a game for the ages, needing penalty kicks after battling France to a legendary 3-3 draw.
Almada played just six group-stage minutes as a substitute during the Qatar-based World Cup, getting the call-up as an injury replacement. That followed a 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year campaign with Atlanta after a reported league-record $16 million transfer from Argentine side Vélez Sarsfield.
That World Cup experience has invigorated Almada, who has won two of four Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire awards in the 2023 campaign’s early days. With four goals and four assists, he’s emerged as the clear Landon Donovan MLS MVP frontrunner for the Eastern Conference-leading Five Stripes.
Now, buzz continues over whether Almada might set an MLS-record outgoing transfer – possibly as soon as this summer. The current mark is held by former Atlanta star Miguel Almirón, who moved to English Premier League side Newcastle United in the winter of 2019 for a reported $27 million.