Atlanta United beat Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park with goals from Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco as the club picked up its second-straight road win. With a pair of goals, Martinez recorded his 13th multi-goal game with Atlanta United while Barco scored his fourth of the season, tied with Martinez for the team lead, and dished out his first assist of the year.
“I’m very pleased, it was a very solid performance,” said Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer. “We created our chances, we almost gave nothing away and we were confident on the ball. This is what you want to see from our team.”
Atlanta controlled the pace of play from the outset, dominating possession and taking six shots building up to its breakthrough in the 39th minute. Ezequiel Barco received a pass from Darlington Nagbe near the center circle and drove the ball through the middle of the field before unleashing a strong right-footed shot toward goal. Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia palmed the ball to his right, but Martinez buried the rebound while clashing with Melia inside the six-yard box.
Barco doubled Atlanta’s lead right out of halftime in the 47th minute. The play again began with the Argentine midfielder sprinting through the midfield before laying off a pass to Gressel, who then returned the ball for Barco. He shed a defender off his back near the edge of the penalty area and passed to Martinez, who had the ball poked away. Graham Zusi attempted to clear the ball, but it fell directly to the feet of Barco, who took one touch to his right before blasting a perfectly-placed shot past a diving Melia into the bottom left corner.
Atlanta United continued to assert its dominance with several chances throughout the half and ultimately sealed victory in the 76th minute after Martinez scored his second goal of the night. Barco led a break down the left side and dribbled toward the top of the 18-yard box where he laid a pass off to Martinez. The Venezuelan dribbled around a Sporting defender before sending a curling strike into the top left corner. It was Barco’s first assist of the season.
Atlanta United (3-3-2, 11 points) returns to action Wednesday, May 8 against Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (7:00 p.m. EST, FOX Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD