The game in 100 words (or less): Stock up — Atlanta United. The expansion side looked favorites to qualify for the playoffs before Sunday’s 3-0 drubbing of FC Dallas, but following that lopsided victory in their first-ever game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tata Martino’s side looks destined to climb the Eastern Conference standings over the final two months of the regular season. With three (or four) games in hand on just about everyone above them, and seven of their final nine games to be played at home, third place is very much in play. Stock way, way, way down — FC Dallas. Eight games without a win (five losses), FCD have slipped all the way to seventh in the Western Conference. Oscar Pareja’s side isn’t scoring goal, but more importantly they’re conceding a boatload (19-7 combined score during that eight-game skid). Fortunately for FCD, there aren’t
five four three good teams in the West, let alone the six it would require for them to miss the playoffs.
Three moments that mattered
14′ — Gonzalez Pirez taps it home for a 1-0 lead — You might have been hoping for a more memorable first goal in stadium history, but they all count the same in the end.
26′ — Hedges clears Martinez’s shot off the line — Martinez had beaten Jesse Gonzalez, but Matt Hedges never gave up on the play and arrived in the nick of time to keep the deficit at one goal. At the time, it seemed a potentially game-changing event. Alas…
46′ — Martinez makes it 2-0 after 27 seconds — Walker Zimmerman committed an indefensible turnover in the midfield, which is the last thing you want to do against Atlanta. Watch how quickly (six seconds from center circle to ball-in-net) they transition from pressing to attacking. (That’s 11 assists on the season — second in this game — for 23-year-old Miguel Almiron.)
Man of the match: Miguel Almiron
Goalscorers: Gonzalez Pirez (14′), Martinez (46′), Garza (68′)