Atlanta United escaped from Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday with a 4-0 win after failing to score a goal until the 13th minute of game play. They finally added another three minutes later, and struggled the rest of the game. Atlanta only picked up two more goals, a far cry from their 7-0 performance a week ago against New England.
Josef Martinez opened the scoring after Yamil Asad ruined Michael Ciani’s career to set up the Venezuelan for his 17th goal in 12 starts.
#17 for Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/oEOHSgwoeC— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) September 20, 2017
Three minutes later, Asad bagged a goal of his own.
TE AMO YAMIL pic.twitter.com/C8ATTZeR3D— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) September 20, 2017
After an excruciatingly long four minute break without a goal, Asad stepped up again and ended the drought with help from Miguel Almiron and Tito Villalba.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA pic.twitter.com/i41VQCwizs— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) September 20, 2017
Atlanta never looked back and L.A. didn’t seem interested in attempting to keep up with the Five Stripes. Jermaine Jones decided he wanted to leave the pitch entirely in the 39th minute, picking up a straight red card for a kick to Villalba’s back.
Moments later and with L.A. down to ten men, Almiron made an easy run in behind a depleted L.A. defense and chipped the keeper for his first goal since June 17 against Columbus. Asad’s ball to play Almiron gave the Argentinian his second assist of the night.
FINALLY Miggy breaks his slump with a chip! pic.twitter.com/tDxkY2Uzvk— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) September 20, 2017
The Five Stripes stayed on autopilot the rest of the way. Tata Martino’s squad has scored 17 goals in four games at their new home, picking up 10 points in the process. The team scored 22 total goals over their entire tenure at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Asad easily took home man of the match honors after contributing to all four of Atlanta’s goals. Yamil grabbed goals five and six on the season, and his 11th and 12th assist.
Asad has now scored four times in five games, and credited a large part of his recent success to his teammates coming out of the gate full steam ahead in recent games.
“I think you’ve seen, generally speaking, that the last four home games, the team as a whole has come out with great intensity at the beginning of the game. We’ve been able to maintain that and turn it into goals” he said. “I’m really happy, above all, for the team. We’re pressing high, taking advantage of our chances and we were able to get the win.
After four games in ten days, the late season gauntlet isn’t over for Atlanta United. The Five Stripes play four more times over the next the 13 days before a merciful two-week break.For Atlanta, winning is making the stress of a late season cluster feel a whole lot lighter.
“You always feel better when you win,”Jeff Larentowicz said postgame. “It’s just a fact. If you can get on a roll and you’re not going to the airport and not staying in a hotel you can get things going. We’re doing that right now.”
Even with optimism swelling thanks to a remarkable homestand, the team is cognizant that there’s still a long road ahead of them before playoff time. Tata Martino especially continues to emphasize that his team stays grounded.
“There’s always certain things to improve. But it’s true that since we’ve moved into this new stadium we’ve been playing well. We’ve been great attacking and we’ve been able to control the ball. Defensively we’ve been sound as well, aside from the Orlando game,” Martino said. “But, we’re still not in the playoffs yet. We know we still have work to do and things we need to improve on.
Martino and Atlanta United are back on Sunday for the first of three games next week. Montreal Impact come to the Stankonia Dome on the coattails of a 5-3 win over likely Supporters Shield winners, Toronto FC in a matchup that will have major playoff implications. Montreal enters one spot below the red line in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Red Bulls. After the win tonight, Atlanta sits in fourth place with two points and two games in hand on Columbus.
The game will also have major implications because OH MY GOD DO YOU REMEMBER HOW THE LAST GAME IN MONTREAL ENDED??!? I’m still trying to block it out. If you don’t remember look it up. Then get angry. Then come to the Stankonia Dome and be as loud and rowdy as possible on Sunday. Please. The winning can’t stop here. It’s too much fun, y’all.