ATLANTA — Darlington Nagbe scored his first Atlanta United goal in his 50th appearance with the club, burying a first-time finish in the Five Stripes’ 5-0 rout of a 10-man Houston Dynamo Wednesday. What inspired Nagbe’s breakthrough? Perhaps it was just a bit of Instagram banter with teammate Michael Parkhurst.
During Atlanta’s 2-0 U.S. Open Cup win over Saint Louis FC July 10, Nagbe cooly settled a cleared ball just outside the Saint Louis penalty area and wound up for a powerful shot from distance. Nagbe scuffed it, and his attempt floated off target before dribbling out for a goal kick.
Parkhurst let Nagbe hear about it on the social media platform.
“Looks like I have some competition for worst shot of the season! Thanks @darlington.nagbe [clapping emoji],” the team’s captain commented on a video of the “highlight.”
Parkhurst was referencing his own well-off-target effort that came during Atlanta’s 3-2 U.S. Open Cup win over the Columbus Crew June 18.
The players’ colleagues went wild in the comments.
“I wouldn’t show up to training the next day if I did that,” Justin Meram said.
“I taught you better than that, you’re letting me down, man,” Dion Pereira added.
There were many laughing emoji.
“I think I did [inspire his goal],” Parkhurst joked after the win over Houston. “He must have been practicing. I’ll take credit for it. He probably should have had two goals tonight, but we’ll focus on the one that he did have, and it was a good finish.”
In the locker room Wednesday night, Nagbe had not yet enjoyed an opportunity to clap back at Parkhurst.
“I didn’t say anything to him — I will throughout the week, though,” Nagbe threatened, with a smile. “Not today, not tonight.”
The captain seemed to have a good idea of what is coming his way.
“He gives it back to me in the locker room all the time,” Parkhurst said. “We go back and forth with each other. I’m sure if you follow him on Instagram, you saw that he got me really good in the airport this year with a shoe mishap, so we enjoy ourselves.”
Nagbe shared that “shoe mishap” in a temporary Instagram story, and the video has since disappeared into the ether. Fortunately, Atlanta United Fan TV captured the post.
Darlington Nagbe the prankster ✖👟
— 𝘼𝙏𝙇 𝙐𝙏𝘿 𝙁𝙖𝙣 𝙏𝙑 🏆⚽️🗣🎥 (@atlutdfantv) May 6, 2019
Atlanta United posted a clip of Nagbe’s goal on the club’s official Instagram account Wednesday night.
“You’re welcome for the motivation,” Parkhurst commented.
“All the credit goes to you,” Nagbe replied.