Atlanta United FC 3, Columbus Crew SC 1 | 2017 MLS Match Recap
Arthur Blank sure has a smile on his face these days.
Hector Villalba opened the scoring, Miguel Almiron got the winner in the 67th minute after Federico Higuain's first-half equalizer, and Josef Martinez capped off his return from injury with an emphatic goal off the bench shortly before the final whistle.
The win marks three straight at Bobby Dodd Stadium for Atlanta, and snapped a two-game losing streak heading into a busy stretch of eight games in the next 25 days for the expansion club.
- 16' - ATL - Hector Villalba WATCH
- 26' - CLB - Federico Higuain WATCH
- 67' - ATL - Miguel Almiron WATCH
- 88' - ATL - Josef Martinez WATCH
- FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Saturday's win marks the first time in Atlanta's short history that they have gotten a win after giving up a lead. If Atlanta has hopes of continuing to make waves in their inaugural season, they will need to find ways to stay in games if things don't go right from start to finish. After Federico Higuain equalized in the first half following Villalba's opener, the game could have gone either way. Crew SC was regularly finding openings behind the Atlanta defense. But after the break it was all United and the domination paid off in a big way.
- ROAD WOES CONTINUE FOR CREW SC: This latest loss makes it seven on the season in nine road games for Columbus. That simply isn't good enough for a team with playoff aspirations. After the mid-week humbling at the hands of FC Cincinnati in the USOC, the pressure was on to get a result against an expansion team on a two-game slide. Despite numerous dangerous chances, the wheels fell off late yet again.
- WELCOME BACK JOSEF: Martinez returned to action in the midweek USOC win over the Charleston Battery, but Tata Martino chose to leave the Venezuelan striker on the bench to start Saturday's tilt. The decision reaped rewards as Martinez scored a pile driver from close range to cap the scoring and complete a much anticipated return to form. Note to league - watch out for the Fearsome Foursome down in the Deep South.