Atlanta United Football Club brought their shooting boots to the pitch at Mercedes-Benz Stadium once again, defeating LA Galaxy 4-0 Wednesday night. Attacking midfielder Yamil Asad was the Man of the Match with two goals and two assists on the night.
Josef Martinez opened the scoring for the 5 Stripes as he calmly put away his chance after Asad beat a Galaxy defender in the 13th minute. It was his 8th goal in four matches and his 17th on the season as the Venezuelan continued his clinical goal-scoring run.
The second Atlanta goal came on the heels of Tito Villalba’s shot saved by LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin. The follow by Almiron was blocked but Asad was at the right place at the right time, pounding the ball down the middle, making it 2-0 Atlanta.
Three minutes later, Atlanta was on the attack once again, taking the wind out of the sails of the LA Galaxy. Almiron and Villalba sent their defenders to sea as Asad scored on Tito’s cross. It was 3-0 to the 5 Stripes.
“We can’t ever lose the hope to keep improving because there are always certain things to improve,” Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino said. “It’s true that since we moved into Mercedes-Benz Stadium that we’ve been playing well. We’ve been great (at) attacking. We’ve been able to control the ball and defensively, I think we’ve been sound as well – aside from the game against Orlando where we gave up three goals. But, we’re still not in the playoffs yet so we know we still have work to do and some things that we can still improve on.”
LA Galaxy defender Jermaine Jones was sent off after a kick on an Atlanta United player’s back (according to the referee). Almiron scored shortly thereafter with a cheeky dink over Kempin, making it 4-0 before halftime.
“We all know what the atmosphere is like here so if we can do that, that would be tremendous,” Atlanta United Goakeeper Brad Guzan said of securing home-field advantage in the playoffs. “First and foremost we’ve got to make sure we find ourselves in the playoffs. We do that by continuing to win these games and pick up points, and then, hopefully, like you said, we can find ourselves having a home game. I think if we do that we can create some momentum and a buzz and an energy around the team and around the city and (one) that I don’t think many MLS teams can compare.”
This has been the 4th match in two weeks for Atlanta United. However, all of them have been played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The silver lining with the match congestion lies in the truth the 5 Stripes have not traveled since August 26th. Asad spoke to match fitness after his brace:
“Good. A little tired but just normal tiredness of playing 90 minutes but the team has responded to all of these games – playing every three or four days. Now, we have to recover and already start thinking about the next game.”