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ATLANTA (June 30, 2018) — Miguel Almirón scored twice for his sixth career multi-goal game to help Atlanta United defeat Orlando City SC 4-0 in front of 71,932 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday night. Josef Martinez scored his league-leading 15th goal of the season, while fellow Designated Player Ezequiel Barco also scored. Brad Guzan made three saves to post his fifth clean sheet of the season.
Just three minutes into the game, Atlanta struck first from Martinez. Julian Gressel sent an early cross into the box that got by a pair of Orlando defenders before ultimately finding a lunging Martinez. The Golden Boot leader made a run to the far post, getting in behind Jonathan Spector, and just got his right foot on the cross to redirect the ball into the back of the net. It was the 14th time this season (out of 18 MLS matches) that Atlanta scored first.
That score held until halftime, where Atlanta was already 8-0-1 this season when leading at the intermission. The club quickly put the game away in the second half, started by a lightning-quick counterattack to put Atlanta ahead 2-0 in the 55th minute. Inside his own penalty area, Villalba stole a loose ball and quickly dribbled out of trouble before leading Martinez near midfield. The striker took a pair of touches before playing Almirón through the final Orlando defender, where the Paraguayan’s first touch set him up perfectly to finish to Joe Bendik’s right.
Just two minutes later, Barco put Atlanta up 3-0. He started the play by sending a ball to Almirón near the edge of the penalty area. Almirón’s shot attempt caromed off the crossbar and right to Barco, who controlled the ball with his chest before firing off a right-footed attempt into the corner. Then, 20 minutes later, Almirón finished his brace to put Atlanta up 4-0. Almirón received a pass from Mikey Ambrose just past midfield, then beat Spector in a 1v1 duel, before sprinting toward the end line where he peppered a shot past Bendik.
Atlanta United (11-3-4, 37 points) returns to MLS action when it travels to play FC Dallas on Wednesday, July 4 at Toyota Stadium. (8:00 p.m., FOX Sports South, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).
Post-match video with Martino, Larentowicz, Almiron
Full Box Score
Atlanta United 4, Orlando City SC 0
Shots: 15-13 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 6-4 Atlanta
Corner kicks: 4-2 Orlando
Fouls committed: 9-5 Orlando
Saves: 3-2 Atlanta
Clearances: 9-5 Atlanta
Offside: 3-2 Orlando
Possession: 61-39 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 87-82 Atlanta
ATL – Josef Martinez (Julian Gressel) 3’ [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL – Miguel Almirón (Josef Martinez, Tito Villalba) 55’ [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL – Ezequiel Barco 57’ [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL – Miguel Almirón (Mikey Ambrose) 78’ [HIGHLIGHT]
ORL – Will Johnson (yellow) 19’
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan; Mikey Ambrose, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst ©, Franco Escobar; Jeff Larentowicz, Julian Gressel; Ezequiel Barco (Andrew Carleton – 80’), Miguel Almirón (Romario Williams – 86’), Tito Villalba (Kevin Kratz – 64’); Josef Martinez.
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Sal Zizzo, Miles Robinson, Brandon Vazquez.
ORLANDO CITY SC STARTING LINEUP
Joe Bendik; Amro Tarek, Lamine Sane (Stefano Pinho – 68’), Jonathan Spector ©; Mohamed El-Munir, Will Johnson (Richie Laryea – 63’), Oriol Rosell, Scott Sutter (RJ Allen – 68’); Dom Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller.
Substitutes not used: Earl Edwards Jr., Josue Coleman, Dillon Powers, Tony Rocha.
Kevin Stott (referee), Cameron Blanchard (assistant), Adam Garner (assistant), Fotis Bazakos (fourth), Dave Gantar (VAR).