Atlanta United compiled a comprehensive performance Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the LA Galaxy, emerging with a 3-0 win before 72,548 fans, an MLS single-game attendance record in the regular season.
The defending MLS Cup champions benefitted from a pair of own goals in the first half, with Pity Martinez generating the first in the 23rd minute. The Argentine midfielder crossed centrally from the right, and Galaxy center back David Romney redirected past goalkeeper David Bingham.
The second arose in the 43rd minute via LA’s other center back, Giancarlo Gonzalez. This time it was a Justin Meram cross from the left that attempted to find Josef Martinez, but instead made it 2-0 via a deflection from the Costa Rican.
With a commanding lead, Atlanta then put the game out of reach in the 72nd minute via a Josef Martinez penalty kick, marking his ninth consecutive game with a goal, tying his own MLS record. The spot kick arose after Video Review judged that Gonzalez fouled second-half substitute Emerson Hyndman on an attempted clearance.
LA, notably playing without Zlatan Ibrahimovic (yellow-card suspension), saw their best chances come from Favio Alvarez and Uriel Antuna, especially in the first half. But the final product lacked, with Atlanta’s 3-5-2 formation and transition game exploiting the Galaxy backline.
- 23' – ATL – Dave Romney (OG) | WATCH
- 43' – ATL – Giancarlo Gonzalez (OG) | WATCH
- 72' – ATL – Josef Martinez | WATCH
THE BIG PICTURE: Amid a week full of controversial comments, Atlanta got straight down to business in earning all three points. Josef Martinez scored in his ninth straight game, Ezequiel Barco returned to the starting XI for the first time in nearly three months, Pity Martinez looked more comfortable and a single-game attendance record was set for the MLS regular season. As for LA, they’ve now dropped three of their last four. This one came without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Efrain Alvarez and Diego Polenta, though it’s hard to know how they would have tilted the match.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The first own goal in the 23rd minute set the tone during a back-and-forth first half, igniting Atlanta to a convincing win. It also paved the way for what’s now the fourth game of the 2019 MLS season to feature a pair of own goals. Before 2019, there were four total in league history.
MAN OF THE MATCH: In a three-man backline, 22-year-old Miles Robinson was central for Atlanta – and he hardly put a foot wrong. He kept Uriel Antuna under wraps, marking another impressive match in the youngster’s career.
LA: Sunday, August 11 at D.C. United (7:30 pm ET | FS1, TSN 1/4 )