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.
MAN OF THE MATCH
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.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
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.
MATCH TO FORGET
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.