The Five Stripes are in impeccable form right now. After a 3-nil victory over FC Dallas, they bring their momentum back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for their first test with New England Revolution.
Josef Martinez wasted no time etching his name on the goal sheet as he scored in the 2′. Miguel Almirón fed a beautiful lead pass to Martinez in the final third and Martinez (who is no stranger to sharp angles or the near post) fired a rocket from a near impossible angle.
The play was physical since the blow of the whistle but tensions hit a high when a double foul was committed on Yamil Asad. After the use of video review by the referee, he decided New England captain Xavier Kouassi deserved a red card. New England would have their hands full for the remaining 85′.
In the 29′ a penalty kick was given to United. The conversion inched Martinez closer to a hat-trick on the night (he had two goals in 29′).
Things went awry for New England in the 38′ after video review was used for the third time to award Atlanta United yet another penalty kick and another red card to the Revolution. Center back Antonio Mlinar Delamea was sent off as Josef Martinez netted his hat-trick.
A nine-man Revolution squad was completely undone by the actions of the first half and the numbers tell an even more lopsided story: United’s passing accuracy in the first half was above 90% as their midfield connectivity was reminiscent of Tata’s Barca of yesteryear.
The match was well out of hand for New England after the second red card and it’s hard to make an offensive when even the strikers have to come back and defend. In stoppage time in the first half, an over hit cross breezed through the box and landed at the feet of Anton Walkes who slotted in his second goal of the season.
The second half was more of the same from United. Kevin Kratz scored from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box, Yamil Asad curled a low ground ball into the far-side netting and in the final 90′ Tito Villalba got a goal to close the game 7-nil.
With the game ending 7-0, Atlanta United tied the largest winning margin in MLS history. But Tata being the realist that he is, was not amused at all. “Forgive me for sounding boring but I am going to repeat that we played a large part of the game up two players. I do want to say that I respect how our team played after that but that (the two red cards) had a big impact.”
Atlanta (12-8-6, 42 points) returns to action Saturday, Sept. 16 against Orlando City SC. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Univision.