Everyone knows I liked big Giakoumakis. Everyone knows I was a big fan and I was very sad to see him leave our club. I was not in the least bit surprised that he scored on debut for Atlanta. I was not surprised that he scored in the games that followed.
I am a huge MLS fan, as regular readers might be aware. I love the nature of the games, the excitement, the styles of football. I love the commentary team! Americans who view the game in a much more tactical way than their British counterparts. Their analysis is frequently quite brilliant. I love it because almost every live match has goals.
For all that, I had clean forgotten that Giakoumakis played for Atlanta when their game was being showed live earlier in the week. All I cared about was tuning in and watching to see if the match lived up to what I love about the league.
The game certainly did, with plenty of chances for both sides. Atlanta opened the scoring early, and although we had to wait for late drama the match itself was end to end with Chicago having the best of it. They scored an equaliser right on 90 minutes.
I watched to the last kick of the ball, always expecting there to be more drama. The ref added on plenty of injury time and in the 9th minute of it, Atlanta scored again. I told people on Facebook, “the league never fails to provide thrills.” I knew it would.
The thing of it is, Giakoumakis got the opener, and it was a typical bit of predatory finishing from the big guy. He was in the right place at the right time and it’s not a wonder that the home fans love the big lad already. I was pleased for him.
But a quarter hour into the second half we saw the other side of him. Giakoumakis, sitting in the middle of the pitch complaining about an injury. I knew then he’d not play their next match, and so it has proved.
He’s missing out this weekend with a hamstring.
We became familiar with that at Celtic. Whether it was wee knocks in training or the 27 games he missed in the first campaign, or going away with the national team and being out for a spell after that … top players are no good to you sitting in the stand.
This time last year, as we prepared for the Scottish Cup semi-final, that’s exactly where he was, and Kyogo was not fit enough to start either, which meant that we started that game with Daizen Maeda as our striking option.
At the time, not exactly ideal.
With all respect to the big guy, this was always a worry with him.
It wouldn’t have stopped us from keeping him if he’d signed a new deal … but still. I do hope he’s back soon for Atlanta, because he’s on the brink of an MLS record.
He is, right now, one of only two players in the league’s history to score in five consecutive games. If he scores in his next two he will beat the record set by Taylor Twellman who scored in his first six.
I really hope that he does it. When he’s fit.