Atlanta United drew another sellout crowd, won for the first time in more than seven weeks and bolstered their playoff hopes with a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas in its brand-new stadium on Sunday
Josef Martinez, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Greg Garza scored for the MLS expansion team, which thrilled the packed house of 45,314 with a dominating performance in its debut at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Dominating the match right from the start, Atlanta jumped ahead in the 14th minute when Gonzalez Pirez scored his first goal of the season. From near the sideline, Miguel Almiron floated a pass into the penalty area, Hector Villalba flicked it past two Dallas players with a deft header, and the defender slipped to the back post to knock the ball past helpless goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Less than a minute into the second half, United extended its lead after Dallas sloppily lost possession to Carlos Carmona in its own end. Quickly seizing the chance, Almiron zipped down the left side with the ball and sent a pass through a defender’s legs, setting up Martinez’s easy one-timer into an open net for his 10th goal in league games.
Garza made it a rout in the 68th minute with his second goal of the season. Again, it was Villalba with an assist, this time on a crossing pass that Martinez wisely allowed to go through as he was marked by Walker Zimmerman. Garza had no one around him on the back post for yet another score that was barely challenged by the visiting team.
Atlanta outshot Dallas 12-5 in an opening half that could’ve been a much bigger margin than 1-0. Yamil Asad sent a floater off the woodwork and Martinez beat Gonzalez with a shot, only to have Matt Hedges hustle back to kick it away.
The victory was United’s first since a 1-0 triumph at Orlando on July 21.
Ola Kamara scored his 15th goal of the season in first-half stoppage time as the Columbus Crew played to a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
Columbus had lost six of its last seven regular-season games in the series. while SKC snapped a two-game road losing streak.
Kamara headed in Pedro Santos’s corner kick to move within four goals of New York City FC’s David Villa for the Golden Boot award.
Cristian Lobato opened the scoring in the 19th minute with his first MLS goal. Columbus defender Jonathan Mensah misplayed a long free kick by Matt Besler and Lobato capitalized with a calm shot past Zack Steffen.
Lobato, a Spanish midfielder, was playing in just his sixth league game.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia has allowed a goal or less in five straight games, leading to 11 team points.