Minneapolis, Minnesota (March 12, 2017)- Minnesota United’s first game in MLS did not go according to plan, and neither did their second. Atlanta United were all over them from the kickoff as they went on to win 6-1. Josef Martinez had a hat-trick, Miguel Almiron netted a brace, and Jacob Peterson compounded the misery right before the final whistle. Minnesota’s lone goal came from a Kevin Molino Penalty. Atlanta United’s victory gives them their first three points in franchise history.
Atlanta United Destroy Minnesota United for First Win in Franchise History
The two expansion teams seem to be trending in completely opposite directions. Atlanta United have scored seven goals, conceded three in their first two matches. Minnesota has scored two, and conceded eleven. Minnesota also became the first team in MLS history to concede five or more goals in back-to-back games. Things look bleak for them. Thankfully they have 32 games left to get it right. Atlanta, on the other hand, pose a good threat to make the postseason in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta didn’t take long to get the party started. Martinez ran the back line really well, and the pass to him was timed to perfection. Martinez slotted home and the flag stayed down, igniting the Atlanta goal-scoring flame. Almiron got on the scoresheet less than ten minutes later, by slipping in behind the defense and ripping a shot high to John Alvbage‘s near post. Martinez then again found the back of the net.
Kevin Molino earned a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Jeff Larentowicz, and then slotted it home, sending Alec Kann the wrong way. After it looked like Minnesota might have been able to get back into the game, Almiron slammed the door shut with a sensational volley in the 52nd minute. Martinez completed his hat-trick roughly twenty minutes later, as he beat the entire back line, and put the shot home to an empty net. Peterson’s header in stoppage time finished off the rout.
Not to be lost in the story of today’s match was the snow. It was almost what you would expect from an outdoor game in Minnesota during the winter. There were a couple of “snow clearance” stoppages during the game. We also saw the 2017 debut of the orange match ball. The ball was teased as a possibility for both New England and Kansas City’s matches. But they cancelled the New England game, and the snow never really stuck in Kansas City.
Atlanta United move to 1-1-0 on the season with three points. They will take on the Chicago Fire at home next Saturday. Minnesota moves to 0-2-0 with zero points and a -9 goal differential. They will take on the Colorado Rapids, away, in what will be a tough match on the road.