Atlanta United Football Club earned their sixth win of the season after a 3-1 win over Columbus Crew SC Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Atlanta United got on the scoreboard first with a 16-minuted goal by Tito Villalba. Yamil Asad assisted on the goal, his eight assist of the season, which is tied for most in the MLS.
“I think we worked a lot in practice this week on intensity and pressure,” Villalba said after the match. “Yamil did that really well, it’s a strength of his, and all the credit on my goal goes to him.”
Columbus tied the game at the 26th minute on a goal by Federico Higuain after a scramble in the box. Head Coach Tata Martino is still searching for balance between defense and attack.
“I think when you’re talking about a team, attacking or defending, it depends on the whole team, and not just a group of a few players,” Martino said. “[And] I think sometimes its important for us to press, because when we press, it helps us defend, but at other times I think we need to fall back because sometimes when you do press so hard, it puts our defenders in tough spots as well.”
In the 62nd minute, a loud cheer erupted from the crowd when Josef Martinez subbed in the game for Julian Gressel. It was Martinez’s first appearance in a United game since suffering a thigh injury while playing for the Venezuelan national team.
Atlanta United fans had more to cheer about in the 67th minute after a goal by Miguel Almirón, giving his team a 2-1 lead. Martinez made the crowd go crazy after his goal in the 88th minute to put Atlanta United up 3-1.
“I’m happy with scoring a goal today. After the goal that I scored I was a little emotional, especially because before I came on I heard all of the fans applauding me and chanting my name,” Martinez said during the post game press conference. “I’m happy to get the goal tonight and I’m also happy for the work that my team is doing because we knew this was a really important game, especially with all of these games coming up. It was important to get three points at home and hopefully we can keep this streak going. Not just me, but the whole team.”
Almirón was named the Man of the Match.
Atlanta United’s next match will be Wednesday at D.C. United. Kickoff at RFK Stadium is 7:30 p.m.