Atlanta United 3, Philadelphia Union 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

The Philadelphia Union were hoping to use Saturday’s game at Atlanta United as a litmus test, but they never got much of an opportunity to do that at full strength.

Due in large part to a wild sequence that saw the Union get whistled for an early penalty and go down to nine men, Atlanta held on for a 3-1 win over Philly at Mercedes-Benz Stadium behind a record-setting hat trick from Josef Martinez.

Martinez buried a 21st-minute penalty kick after Union midfielders Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin were sent off for arguing a penalty call on Auston Trusty.

The nine-man Union managed to keep it at 1-0 until halftime before Martinez doubled Atlanta’s lead early in the second half. Fafa Picault drew one back for undermanned Philly three minutes later, before Martinez completed his hat trick with an 83rd-minute penalty kick following a Fabinho handball in the box.

The hat trick was the fifth in Martinez's career, matching a league record, as Atlanta snapped Philly's four-game unbeaten streak while ending a two-game winless streak of their own.


  • 21' — ATL — Josef Martinez (PK) WATCH
  • 49' — ATL — Josef Martinez WATCH
  • 52' — PHI — Fafa Picault WATCH
  • 83' — ATL — Josef Martinez (PK) WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Atlanta controlled the game with 75 percent of the possession and did what they needed to do to get back on the winning side of things and remain in first place in the loaded Eastern Conference. The Union, meanwhile, showed some guts to score a goal and not let Atlanta run away with the match in a very challenging environment and situation.

  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Whatever you think of the penalty call on Trusty for taking down Martinez in the box — and the two subsequent ejections — it obviously altered the trajectory of the match. It seemed like Bedoya and Medunjanin, two of the Union's most seasoned veterans, were mostly angry about referee Sorin Stoica not going to Video Review before getting sent to the showers.

  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Even though two of his goals were penalty kicks, that doesn’t take away from Martinez’s historic performance. Not only did his fifth hat trick match an MLS record, the 25-year-old striker also accomplished the feat faster than any other player, doing it in 34 games. The only other MLS players with five hat tricks were Stern John (55 games) and Diego Serna (124 games).

Next Up

  • ATLUTD: U.S. Open Cup — Wednesday, June 6 vs. Charleston Battery (Fifth Third Bank Stadium, 7:30 pm ET)
  • Philadelphia: U.S. Open Cup — Tuesday, June 5 vs. Richmond Kickers (7 pm ET)
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