Miguel Almiron

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Report: Arsenal, Inter Milan after Atlanta United playmaker

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Atlanta United’s remarkable first season under Tata Martino is attracting attention to its most prized players, from Josef Martinez to Hector Villalba, Yamil Asad to Miguel Almiron.

Calcio Mercato says Inter Milan is keeping a close eye on Almiron, and that Arsenal also want to lure the Paraguayan playmaker to the Emirates Stadium.

[ MORE: U.S. stays perfect at U-17 World Cup ]

The Daily Mail put a nearly $24 million price tag on Almiron, three times what Atlanta paid to get him from Argentine club Lanus.

The 23-year-old has nine goals and eight assists in 29 MLS matches this season, and is currently out of the lineup with injury.

Can Almiron make the leap to the Premier League or Serie A? Certainly, and it may be hard for both MLS and Atlanta to pass up a 300 percent profit.

Atlanta’s Almiron will miss at least three weeks with hamstring injury

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This isn’t what Atlanta United wanted to see right before the playoffs, but the club will be praying that it gets one of its biggest stars back in time for the MLS postseason.

[ MORE: Trio of USWNT players stay in locker room for national anthem ]

Miguel Almiron has been ruled out at least three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Montreal Impact.

Given the projected three-week timetable, Almiron could return for the team’s final two matches of the regular season against the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC.

Meanwhile, Almiron will also likely miss out on Paraguay’s two final CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, which is a devastating blow for the country’s qualification chances. Paraguay currently sits three points behind fifth-place Argentina in South American qualifying.

In his first season in MLS, Almiron has taken the league by storm after scoring nine goals and adding 13 assists. Additionally, the 23-year-old has three game-winning goals for the expansion side, who currently sits third in the Eastern Conference.

MLS Snapshot: ATL uphold home dominance, grind it out vs. MTL

Photo credit: Atlanta United / @ATLUTD
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The game in 100 words (or less): Here’s the only foolproof advice for any MLS team desperate for points in their pursuit of a playoff spot — don’t play Atlanta United, just don’t do it. Tata Martino’s side, now in the middle of a lengthy home-stand at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, has one four of their last five games (all at home) and climbed into third place in the Eastern Conference, finally surpassing the Chicago Fire, in the process. What’s more, Atlanta (49 points) also have a game in hand (or two) on every team above them in the standings. Hector Villalba and Jeff Laretnowicz bagged the goals during Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, though this weekend’s greatest impact on Atlanta’s season is perhaps yet to be felt after Miguel Almiron left the game with an injury early in the first half.

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Three Four moments that mattered

17′ — Almiron leaves the field in tears, injured — Almiron left the game with an apparent leg injury. The 23-year-old Paraguayan, who has 9 goals and 13 assists this season, appeared to be in tears as he left the field.

28′ — Villalba unleashes a thunderbolt for 1-0 — If not for the back of the net, Villalba’s laser beam would still be traveling at a slightly upward trajectory two or three hours from now.

72′ — Guzan denies Salazer one-on-one to keep it 1-0 — Brad Guzan wasn’t asked to make a save until the 72nd minute, and the U.S. national teamer came up huge against Michael Salazar.

73′ — Larentowicz scores on the other end for 2-0 — Soccer, much like life, comes at you fast.

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Man of the match: Carlos Carmona

Goalscorers: Villalba (28′), Larentowicz (73′)

MLS Snapshot: Atlanta United 4-0 LA Galaxy (video)

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The match in 100 words (or less): Somewhere, Atlanta United is still scoring now with 19 goals in its last five outings. The “Five Stripes” fired at will for the second-straight game, leading 3-0 before Jermaine Jones made it academic with a silly red card. Yamil Asad had two goals and two assists in the first half, while Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez also scored. For Martinez, it’s seven goals in seven days. LA has quit, and Tata Martino’s Atlanta may just pose a threat to Toronto FC’s presumed MLS Cup Final spot.

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Three moments that mattered

13′ — Maaaaayyyybe defend, LA? — It’s one thing for Rafael Garcia to back off and back off and back off and back off Yamil Asad. It’s another thing to fail in any attempt to mark the hottest scorer in MLS: Josef Martinez.

20′ — Three goals in seven minutes — About that “defending”… woof. This is a straight-up passing drill for ATL.

39′ — Jermaine Jones rolls back the years (not in a good way) — The combustible midfielder showed that vibes haven’t settled in LA despite Sigi Schmid’s presence, taking an easy red considering VAR’s abilities for dragging his cleat in the direction of a fellow human’s spine.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the Match: Asad

Goal scorers: Martinez (13′), Asad (16′, 20′), Almiron (43′)

MLS Snapshot: ATLUTD run wild on FCD in stadium opener

Photo credit: Atlanta United / @ATLUTD
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The game in 100 words (or less): Stock up — Atlanta United. The expansion side looked favorites to qualify for the playoffs before Sunday’s 3-0 drubbing of FC Dallas, but following that lopsided victory in their first-ever game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tata Martino’s side looks destined to climb the Eastern Conference standings over the final two months of the regular season. With three (or four) games in hand on just about everyone above them, and seven of their final nine games to be played at home, third place is very much in play. Stock way, way, way down — FC Dallas. Eight games without a win (five losses), FCD have slipped all the way to seventh in the Western Conference. Oscar Pareja’s side isn’t scoring goal, but more importantly they’re conceding a boatload (19-7 combined score during that eight-game skid). Fortunately for FCD, there aren’t five four three good teams in the West, let alone the six it would require for them to miss the playoffs.

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Three moments that mattered

14′ — Gonzalez Pirez taps it home for a 1-0 lead — You might have been hoping for a more memorable first goal in stadium history, but they all count the same in the end.

26′ — Hedges clears Martinez’s shot off the line — Martinez had beaten Jesse Gonzalez, but Matt Hedges never gave up on the play and arrived in the nick of time to keep the deficit at one goal. At the time, it seemed a potentially game-changing event. Alas…

46′ — Martinez makes it 2-0 after 27 seconds — Walker Zimmerman committed an indefensible turnover in the midfield, which is the last thing you want to do against Atlanta. Watch how quickly (six seconds from center circle to ball-in-net) they transition from pressing to attacking. (That’s 11 assists on the season — second in this game — for 23-year-old Miguel Almiron.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Miguel Almiron

Goalscorers: Gonzalez Pirez (14′), Martinez (46′), Garza (68′)