There have been plenty of firsts through Atlanta United’s inaugural season, but they made league history Wednesday night in a dominant 7-0 win over the New England Revolution.
Head coach Tata Martino stuck with the lineup that made quick work of FC Dallas over the weekend, making no changes to his starting XI: Brad Guzan (GK), Anton Walkes (RB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Michael Parkhurst (CB), Greg Garza (LB), Jeff Larentowicz (CM), Carlos Carmona (CM), Yamil Asad (LW), Miguel Almirón (CAM), Tito Villalba (RW), Josef Martinez (ST).
It took Atlanta United just over one minute to get on the scoresheet, with Miguel Almirón and Josef Martinez combining well to spring the Venezuelan striker at full speed behind the New England back line. Martinez put the defender on his heels with a zig-zag dribble and blasted a left-footed shot past the goalkeeper to take the early lead.
Fifteen minutes later, a red card for a hard foul on Yamil Asad would give Atlanta a man advantage, and the Five Stripes would capitalize. Their second and third goal came thanks to lethal finishing from the penalty spot.
First, a half hour into the game, a nice passing move fell to Greg Garza outside the box, who hit a powerful drive that the New England defender stopped with his hand. Josef converted from the spot and earned another penalty eight minutes later, blasting a close-range shot that another Revs defender stopped on the line with a handball. A red card and second penalty goal later, Atlanta found themselves up 3-0 and Josef had his first-half hat trick. Now with a two-man advantage, Anton Walkes made sure he got in on the scoring, latching on the end of a cross and thumping home a powerful finish inside the far post to make it 4-0 just before the half.
Twenty-five minutes into the second half, Atlanta’s performance went from dominant to incredible. Kevin Kratz, who had just come into the game for Jeff Larentowicz minutes before, lined up a free kick just outside the box and blasted an inch-perfect laser past the goalkeeper and into the top corner.
Just four minutes later, Atlanta United put it in the back of the Revolution net once again. Second-half substitute Chris McCann won the ball off a stumbling New England player and poked it into the path of Yamil Asad. The Argentine saw the defense backing away and took advantage of the space in front of him, curling a powerful low drive into the far corner.
With the result fully in hand, Tito Villalba wrapped up the result with a close-range tap-in to set a historic 7-0 score line. With that, Atlanta capped off an incredible, record-setting night: the most goals ever in a game for an expansion side, while tying the largest margin of victory for any team in the history of MLS. It was also the first time ever a team had been held to zero shot attempts in a game.
The dominant performance in front 42,511 fans made it eight straight unbeaten for Atlanta United at home in their 11th straight sellout, lifting the Five Stripes into fifth place in the Eastern conference with games in hand. The red, black and gold will try to keep up their home momentum this Saturday as they face Orlando City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Make sure you’ve saved your spot for the record breaker by getting your tickets here. This is one you won’t want to miss.