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ATLANTA (Sept. 10, 2017) — Atlanta United opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium in grand fashion Sunday, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 in front of a sold-out crowd of 45,314. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Josef Martinez and Greg Garza tallied goals, while the team compiled a season-high 12 shots on target. Brad Guzan made two saves to keep the clean sheet.
“The stadium is so impressive that it’s tough not to talk about what the stadium represents,” Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino said. “But I have to talk about how the team played. With everything that we have coming and the eight games in 23 days, I think the most important is the performance. Against an opponent that generally we were better than, but in some situations, they put us through tough moments.”
Atlanta struck first in the 17th minute from Gonzalez Pirez off a corner kick. Atlanta played it short, allowing Miguel Almirón a free look at a cross that he dumped into the box. Tito Villalba headed it on toward the far post, where Gonzalez Pirez was able to get a touch with his right foot to direct it in.
Martinez doubled the lead right after halftime with Atlanta forcing a quick turnover before breaking toward the Dallas goal. Almirón crossed for Martinez, who easily drilled one into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season, tying a team lead.
Garza added a third goal in the 68th minute with Villalba picking up his second assist. The winger played a cross into the box that looked destined for Martinez, but the striker let it pass for a wide-open Garza, who easily tapped it into an open net.
Atlanta United (11-8-6, 39 points) returns to action Wednesday, Sept. 13 against New England Revolution. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on FOX Sports South.
- Post-match video; Interviews with Martino, Parkhurst, Garza, Pirez
- Full Box Score
- Quote sheet
- Match photos
Atlanta United 3, FC Dallas 0
Shots: 19-10 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 12-2 Atlanta
Corner kicks: 4-5 FC Dallas
Fouls committed: 13-11 Atlanta
Saves: 8-2 FC Dallas
Clearances: 19-9 Atlanta
Offside: 4-2 Atlanta
Possession: 54-46 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 81-79 Atlanta
ATL – Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (Tito Villalba, Miguel Almirón) 17’ [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL – Josef Martinez (Miguel Almirón, Carlos Carmona) 46’ [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL – Greg Garza (Tito Villalba) 68’ [HIGHLIGHT]
FCD – Carlos Gruezo (yellow) 2’
ATL – Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (yellow) 50’
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan; Greg Garza, Leandro Gonázlez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst ©, Anton Walkes; Jeff Larentowicz, Chris McCann; Yamil Asad, Miguel Almirón (Jacob Peterson – 89’), Tito Villalba (Julian Gressel – 72’); Josef Martinez (Chris McCann – 80’)
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Mark Bloom, Kevin Kratz, Brandon Vazquez.
FC DALLAS STARTING LINEUP
Jesse Gonzalez; Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Hernan Grana; Carlos Gruezo (Victor Ulloa – HT), Kellyn Acosta; Ryan Hollingshead (Tesho Akindele – 65’), Mauro Diaz © (Cristian Coleman – 77’), Michael Barrios; Maximiliano Urruti.
Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz, Javier Morales, Atiba Harris, Roland Lamah.
Mark Geiger (referee), Ian Anderson (assistant), Brian Poeschel (assistant), Mark Kadlecik (fourth), Robert Sibiga (VAR).
- Jeff Larentowicz made his 330th career MLS start, which currently ranks No. 9 all-time in league history among field players.
- Larentowicz also made his 348th all-time appearance, which currently ranks No. 11 all-time in league history among field players.
- Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored his first goal with Atlanta United.
- Atlanta improved to 10-5-2 when scoring first.
- Atlanta United recorded a season-high 12 shots on target, its previous high was nine. (San Jose Earthquakes 7/4, Colorado Rapids 6/24).
- Josef Martinez scored his 10th goal of the season, tying the team lead with Tito Villalba.
- Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored his first career MLS goal.
- Greg Garza scored his second goal of the season. His first came against Vancouver on June 3.
- Garza also leads all MLS defenders in chances created with 31.
- Carlos Carmona recorded his first assist of the season.
- Miguel Almirón and Tito Villalba each tallied two assists, bringing their totals to 11 and six, respectively.