2018 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Josef Martínez (24')
  • Miguel Almirón (73')
  • Héctor Villalba (75')
  • Darren Mattocks (86')

Atlanta United see off D.C. United in front of MLS record crowd

Atlanta United FC's red-hot home form from 2017 carried over on Sunday afternoon in an impressive 3-1 win against D.C. United.

The hosts -- playing in front of an MLS record crowd of 72,035 fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- had two great chances to open the scoring in the first 20 minutes, with Miguel Almiron curling a shot wide of the goal before Josef Martinez's lashed effort from distance was deflected off target.

Martinez wouldn't be denied on his next chance though, racing on to a Hector Villalba cross and redirecting the ball into the net on a play set up by new arrival Darlington Nagbe to make it 1-0.

The video assistant referee came into play at the start of the second half when Greg Garza was handed a yellow card for a sliding challenge on Paul Arriola after the head official consulted VAR.

D.C. United were the better side after the restart and Darren Mattocks had a clear look at goal after turning over the Atlanta defense and putting on a nice stepover move to get clear of his defender before blazing a shot well over the crossbar from 10 yards away.

David Ousted was called into action just past the hour mark as Atlanta's dynamic attack came back to life, the D.C. keeper punching an inch-perfect cross away from the head of the onrushing Martinez to keep the deficit at one.

And Atlanta's pressure finally told, with Almiron smashing an unstoppable shot from a Julian Gressel assist past Ousted and Villalba heading home his team's third minutes later to put the result out of reach for D.C.

"It was huge," said Atlanta's Brad Guzan after the match. "We knew we had to turn things around from last week, and we were going to need our supporters' help in that, in terms of creating an atmosphere that would be exciting for us to play in and pretty intimidating for other teams."

Mattocks scored a consolation goal for the visitors after a deflected pass from former Atlanta United player Yamil Asad left him all alone with only Guzan to beat.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.