Major League Soccer

Atlanta United earns first MLS win in beatdown of Minnesota United

Following a tough home defeat last weekend against the New York Red Bulls, Atlanta United bounced back on Sunday with a 6-1 road victory against fellow expansion side Minnesota United.

Playing in a snow-covered TCF Bank Stadium, it was Atlanta United that looked more at home, running circles around Minnesota’s leaky defense, with striker Josef Martinez netting a hat trick and midfielder Miguel Almiron scored two goals of his own to secure the team’s first win.

Martinez opened the scoring three minutes in, before Almiron rifled home his first goal of the campaign in the 13th minute.

Martinez slotted home his second goal of the match in the 27th minute, as the Venezuelan finished off Yamil Asad’s assist. Minnesota midfielder Kevin Molino cut the visitors lead to 3-1 three minutes later after he slotted home from the penalty spot. The former Orlando City man drew a foul from Jeff Larentowicz inside the box to earn the spot kick.

Almiron doubled his tally on the afternoon, rifling home a left-footed effort in the 52nd minute to make it 4-1 for Atlanta. Martinez capped his hat-trick in the 75th minute, after he rounded Minnesota keeper John Alvbage and tapped home into an empty net.

Substitute Jacob Peterson headed home in stoppage time to stamp the final score at 6-1. Atlanta United looked dominant from the start, and was able to take advantage of Minnesota’s struggling back-line. Atlanta keeper Alec Kann made five saves in the win.

After allowing 11 goals in their first 180 minutes of MLS action, Minnesota United travels to the Colorado Rapids next Saturday looking for a better showing than its first two matches. Atlanta United welcomes the Chicago Fire to Bobby Dodd Stadium looking to keep up momentum from Sunday’s win.


Josef Martinez was on fire from the opening whistle and scored on each attempt he recorded. The Colombian international is expected to do big things for the expansion side and showed his skills on Sunday. His pace caused trouble for the Minnesota back-line, while a hat-trick should do wonders for his confidence going forward.


The second goal of the match for Atlanta, scored by Miguel Almiron really set the tone early. Both Almiron and Martinez were masterful in Sunday’s win, and both will be heavily relied on for Atlanta to be successful in their debut season. The Paraguayan also added an assist on Sunday and should see a lot of the build-up play go through him going forward.


The entire Minnesota back-line was horrid on Sunday, especially centerbacks Vadim Demidov and Francisco Calvo. The pace of Martinez caused fits for the entire bunch, while a lack of communication defensively by Minnesota allowed Atlanta to net six goals. After allowing 11 goals in their first two matches, it really can’t get worse for the Loons, can it? Leadership will be important for this bunch going forward, so someone will need to step up and fast.

  • Lost in Space

    Atlanta has talent and as they build their team chemistry this is going to become a team that is going to be fun to watch. The ownership & coaching staff made good roster selections (young technical players with a handful of known MLS veteran commodities). It’s early in the season and they are only going to improve as they get more games under their belts. Don’t be surprised if they make a run towards the playoffs late in the season.


    • Old School

      I didn’t catch the match (saw the first one) but I think we all agreed they were putting together an incredible structure/base. Let’s completely disregard it’s their innagural season, they had (arguably) the best off-season of any MLS club.

      Of course, they had a lot more tools and mechanics to mold their squad but we’ve seen countless times ownership, front office and managers bungle that concept completely. Especially in their first few years.

      Not an Atlanta fan, and I was a skeptic initially, mostly because I don’t like Arthur Blank for no specific reason, but from the top down they’ve done it right. Great addition for the league and hopefully a benchmark for future expansions on how it’s done at every level/hiring.


      • Larry Henry Jr

        Yeah hopefully they surprise some more people with a strong debut season in the MLS.


    • Larry Henry Jr

      Yeah with how close the Eastern Conference playoff race was last year, Atlanta could definitely be in the mix for a spot.


  • two cents/lowercase letters guy

    that’s not soccer. it may be entertaining to watch but it isn’t soccer.


  • Helium-3

    What is MN Utd’s strength? From two games I don’t see them doing anything well other than the commenters talking about Molino as he is some kind of talent nobody has seen. They will be the worst team in MLS. Chicago has improved.


    • John F

      Well, Minnesotans are known for being nice people, and they certainly were generous hosts yesterday.


    • Larry Henry Jr

      Yeah Molino has to be their best option. Defensively they are horrid right now, 11 goals in two games.


  • RK

    Wow, this team is legitimate. They capitalized this week, when they didn’t in the first match. Lack of depth is going to be a concern — Tata keeps making really late subs, as if he didn’t have confidence in the rest of the team.


    • Larry Henry Jr

      Yeah hopefully some of the bench players will provide a spark as the season goes on. Jones and Peterson are vets but probably won’t start right now.


  • Ronniet

    I feel like apart from it being their inaugural season in MLS this year, the biggest story for Minnesota United was the signing of Josh Gatt, and he hasn’t even made the bench yet. Does anyone have any info on his status with the team??


  • Panda

    “Josef Martinez was on fire from the opening whistle and scored on each attempt he recorded. The Colombian international is expected to do big things…”

    Martinez is Venezuelan.


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