Atlanta United beat the defending champions 3-2 on Saturday to pick up three points and spots for midfielder Ezequiel Barco and interim head coach Rob Valentino on this week’s MLS Team of the Week, presented by Audi.
Ezequiel Barco netted two goals in the match, including a finish off a nifty back-heel assist from George Bello in the fifth minute. In the 35th, Barco scored on a penalty kick awarded to Atlanta after midfielder Marcelino Moreno drew a foul in the box. Barco also led the club in touches (83) and completed 89.1 percent of his passes against Columbus.
“I think the confidence is really good,” Barco said on Saturday. “We saw it in the last game coming back from down 2-0 to get a draw. We saw it again tonight in this win against a difficult team. I think you are seeing the confidence in this team is really good right now.”
Interim head coach Rob Valentino was also named to the Team of the Week after the win gave him his first as a head coach in Major League Soccer. Valentino joined the club in 2018 as an assistant for Atlanta United 2 and was named interim head coach of Atlanta United on July 18.
“This is just a start,” Valentino said after the match. “It wasn’t always pretty, but sometimes you have to find a way to win like that. Their mentality, their drive and determination to not lose that game was huge.”
Atlanta United looks to build off the win when they return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday to take on LAFC. Click here to view tickets.