Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez #7 walks out onto the pitch before the match against Cincinnati FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday September 15, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United completely outclassed FC Cincinnati 4-0 at home Wednesday night. In a statement win, Luiz Araújo scored his first goal in Major League Soccer while fan-favorite, Josef Martinez earned a long-awaited brace, and Ezequiel Barco notched his name on the score sheet.

Atlanta United wasted no time in attack and broke the deadlock in less than 10 minutes. Luiz Araújo made a run from around the halfway line into the 18. Just as he penetrated the box, he dribbled inside to his left, and from the right side of the pitch, finessed a left-footed curler around the keeper and just inside the far post. As beautiful as

Luiz Araújo sent a beautiful ball into the box from a free kick. Alan Franco leaped inside the penalty area and laid the ball off in mid-air with a light tap. At the far post, that pass found a wide open, unmarked Josef Martinez who headed the ball into goal with confidence. The stadium erupted. It looked like the type of play you would only see on the training ground.

In the 54th minute, Martinez increased the lead to three. On the counterattack, Ezequiel Barco was dribbling towards the middle of the box. He passed the ball to the Venezuelan superstar who took a touch, turned his body, and curled a right-footed effort (similar to Araújo’s) around a defender and the goalkeeper for his second goal of the match.

The nail in the coffin came in the 85th minute. From a free kick just outside the box, Ezequiel Barco fire a rocket around the wall and across the goal to score the fourth goal of the night.

While the win is definitely a morale booster and improves their chances for playoff contention, a lowly team like Cincinnati isn’t a real test. In order to really see if the club has turned their fortunes around, we’ll have to see how they handle their upcoming match against D.C. United this Saturday, Sept. 18th.

-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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