First half action at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York, on Wednesday September 25, 2019. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United fell to New York City FC 4-1 Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. Pity Martinez scored his fifth goal of the season, but Alexandru Mitrita’s first-half hat-trick was too much to overcome.

NYCFC took the lead in the 14th minute as Mitrita fired in the first of his three goals. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi played a diagonal to the left wing for Mitrita, who dribbled toward goal, cut back to his right, took a couple of touches across the edge of the box and unleashed a shot into the upper right corner for the lead.

Mitrita doubled the lead less than 10 minutes later. Maxi Moralez played a long ball for Mitrita again on the left wing, where the Romanian put the ball back on his right foot and created just enough space to unleash a shot, this time to the left corner that hit off the woodwork and in for a 2-0 lead.

He finished his first-half hat-trick in the 34th minute. Off a turnover, Tajouri-Shradi dribbled inside the box and fired a shot that forced Brad Guzan to make a diving save. But the ball fell to Mitrita, who was alone near the far post, and he made no mistake with a wide-open net to take a 3-0 lead.

Increased pressure from Atlanta out of halftime led to a penalty. Martinez played a through ball for Brandon Vazquez, who tried to play the ball back on his left foot, but he was taken down by a sliding Maxime Chanot. Martinez stepped to the spot and drilled his shot past Sean Johnson.

Despite sustained pressure from Atlanta over the final 15 minutes, Héber sealed the match in the 87th minute. Off a turnover, he got in alone on Guzan and beat him 1v1 before slotting into an empty net with his left foot.

Atlanta United (17-12-3, 54 points) returns to action Sunday, Sept. 29 against Montreal Impact (5:00 p.m., FOX Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).


-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD

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