Atlanta United 5, Houston Dynamo 0 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Things went pear-shaped for the Dynamo quickly when Alberth Elis was sent off on a straight red card in the sixth minute for making contact with referee Christopher Penso in reaction to a yellow card seconds earlier.
Atlanta exploited the extra space for a pair of goals two minutes apart to take a 2-0 lead before the half hour mark.
In the 27th minute, Emerson Hyndman played the ball out wide to Julian Gressel, who had a host of players arriving in the box. It was Darlington Nagbe who ran onto the cross and knocked in his first Five Stripes goal.
Martinez continued his torrid pace with his ninth goal in his last six games, extending the Five Stripes lead to 3-0 on the hour mark. The reigning MLS goals king latched onto a Gressel cross and flicked in from eight yards before being hammered by Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric, who was late off his line to challenge.
Martinez added his second of the game, and 15th on the season in the 79th minute, receiving a through ball by Eric Remedi and sent Kevin Garcia flying into Deric with a devastating cutback to his left foot before easily tapping in.
Gressel put the finishing touches on the rout two minutes from full time to close out a sensational performance.
A minute before receiving his marching orders, Elis served what should have been the opening goal on a platter, playing to an open Marlon Hairston at the edge of the six-yard box. But Hairston not only whiffed on his attempt at the open net, but the ball caromed off him as he slid to ground.
- 27’ — ATL — Darlington Nagbe | WATCH
- 29’ — ATL — Brandon Vazquez | WATCH
- 60’ — ATL — Josef Martinez | WATCH
- 79’ — ATL — Josef Martinez | WATCH
- 88’ — ATL — Julian Gressel | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The defending MLS Cup champions are riddled with injuries, but they find themselves in second place (pending other midweek results), just three points behind idle Philadelphia. The Jekyll and Hyde season continues for the Dynamo, who are 7-1-3 at home, but just 1-8-0 away and are below the playoff line in the West.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It’s likely Atlanta wins this one anyway, but it just seemed inevitable after Elis, who played as the lone striker with a rested Mauro Manotas on the bench, was sent off in the sixth minute for this rush of blood to the head.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Martinez scored another brace, but Gressel was terrific throughout with one goal and two assists.