ATLANTA — 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.