Atlanta United beating Orlando City comes as no surprise, but the manner in which they went about their 4-0 win over the weekend was textbook Atlanta. It wasn’t the best performance we’ve ever seen from Atlanta, but the quality in the build up to each goal was nothing less than brilliance.
Whether it was simple or intricate, Atlanta scored their goals in trademark fashion and once again, dominated Orlando City.
Josef Strikes Early
The first goal is fairly simple, but it’s a typical Josef Martinez goal. As Julian Gressel receives the ball, Martinez’s first thought is to get goal side of the defenders, while also staying onside. The Venezuelan’s movement is deadly, as he’s proven so many times before, and he doesn’t miss those chances from close range. The ball from Gressel is excellently weighted, and with a bit of luck, it manages to squeeze through to Martinez, who bags his 15th of the season.
It’s the “ugliest” goal of the bunch, but that’s no insult as the cross from Gressel is something to marvel at. The finish is one we’ve come to expect from Martinez, so it’s what we’d call a “typical Atlanta United goal.”
Five Stripes, Six Touches
Electric ⚡️— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 1, 2018
Tito ➡️ Josef ➡️ Miggy ➡️ Goal pic.twitter.com/f1Mq6cF4ky
The second goal of the game might just be one of Atlanta’s best ever goals. After winning the ball in his own area, Tito Villalba springs the lightening fast counter attack. Three quick touches from Villalba, one from Martinez to slip through Miguel Almiron, who takes a touch before cooly finishing. Six touches in ten seconds before Joe Bendik is picking the ball out of his net for a second time and it’s one of the most free-flowing counter-attacks you’ll see in Major League Soccer this season. An incisive, fast-paced, and clinical counter that broke the game wide open.
The beauty of the second goal lies in Atlanta’s ruthlessness and speed, both of which were unmatched throughout in their rivalry win.
The Boat Sails Through
They're scoring too fast for us to keep up— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 1, 2018
Barco. Brilliant. pic.twitter.com/eUL0XsSU6Y
Atlanta’s third goal was another spectacle in itself as Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez linked up nicely. A quick one-two with Martinez allowed Barco with space on the edge of the area. Barco was able to pick out Almiron, partially thanks to a dummy from Martinez, which completely shifts the Orlando defense out of their block. Almiron’s effort cannons off the bar, before Barco finishes it off.
The end product isn’t as pretty as the build up, but again the Atlanta players seem one step ahead and their quick thinking allows for so much time and space at their disposal.
He can't. Be. Stopped.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 1, 2018
Miggy brushes off the Orlando defender for the 4th of the night! pic.twitter.com/zxCia7HIk1
The fourth goal of the night is less about the team’s excellent link up play, and more so about Miguel Almiron’s sheer quality. The Paraguayan, who doesn’t look the strongest of players, shows great determination to shrug off an Orlando defender with ease, before bursting clear with his pace. The finish is just as good as the run, slotting his effort between the goalkeeper’s legs at the near post.
With plenty of European clubs already showing interest in Almiron, it’s easy to see why with this solo goal. The combination of strength and speed is something to be admired, as well as the composure to finish the move at the near post.
Four of the Brightest
It’ll be hard to find four goals, in the same game, as good as Atlanta United’s on Saturday night. The intricate one touch play and devastating counter-attacks are what Atlanta have become known for under Tata Martino, and the individual quality to score solo goals like Almiron’s is exactly why Atlanta United are among the MLS elite.