Another sellout crowd in Atlanta for ATL UTD’s second home match, but this time the United supporters had much more than one goal to cheer for and a first-ever monumental home victory to take with them. Atlanta United defeated the Chicago Fire 4-0 recording the club’s first clean sheet of the season. Led by a brace from Josef Martinez, the expansion side marked its second straight victory claiming 6 points from three matches on the season.
With the return of Carlos Carmona from red card suspension, head coach Tata Martino fielded the same starting XI witnessed in Atlanta’s inaugural match with Alec Kann (GK), Greg Garza (LB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Michael Parkhurst (CB), Tyrone Mears (RB), Julian Gressel (CM), Carlos Carmona (CM), Miguel Almirón (CAM), Yami Asad (LW), Tito Villalba (RW) and Josef Martinez (ST).
Like last week’s fiery start, Atlanta wasted no time to get on the scoreboard. Just four minutes into the match, Villalba slipped in Gressel down the edge of the penalty area who then hit a dangerous ball across the six-yard box and eventually deflected into the net by one of Chicago’s own. Not too long after Atlanta took the one-goal advantage, it got significantly worse for the visitors when Chicago’s center back Johan Kappelhof received a red card ejection after dragging down Martinez who would have been one-on-one with the keeper.
Though clearly outplayed, the Fire escaped to the half with no more damage done, but the second 45 proved to be disastrous for the 10-man side. Fifteen minutes after the halftime whistle, Miguel Almirón displayed his world-class vision and skill as he slotted a beautiful through ball to a breaking Martinez who danced around the keeper and passed his fourth goal of the week into the back of the net.
Just seven minutes later Villalba would make it three, smashing home a tipped cross from Greg Garza that met the Argentine’s left foot directly on the penalty spot.
The fourth goal and the dagger on the day was the product of none other than last week’s MLS Player of the Week, Martinez, who again found himself in the penalty area with just the keeper to beat. After Asad picked him out, Martinez did the rest, slotting it past the Chicago goalkeeper for his second on the day.
It was another phenomenal showing from the 23-year-old Venezuelan forward. With his two-goal Man of the Match performance, Martinez now leads MLS in goals scored with a total of five on the season.
"The support has been just amazing we’re very fortunate that we’ve got this atmosphere to play in front of, we don’t want to take it for granted," said team captain Michael Parkhurst. "We want to make this a real fortress and a place where teams dread to come to play. Even though players really look forward to playing in this atmosphere, we want to make sure that they come in here fearing us on the field and today was a good foot forward in the right direction."
What could be Atlanta’s third straight sellout, the expansion side will play its next home match on April 30th when they host D.C. United. To secure your seat, you can purchase single match tickets here or you can snag an Atlanta United 4-Game Pack* which also includes entry to home matches vs Houston, Colorado, and San Jose. (* - Limited Availabilty)