Atlanta United wins first game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Gonzalez Pirez

More than 45,000 fans sold out Mercedes- Benz Stadium to watch Atlanta United FC win the first soccer game played against Dallas FC. The 3-0 win comes after two months of away games where the team’s performance was inconsistent, but coming home to a new state of the art sporting arena gave Atlanta United FC the momentum to play a near flawless match said Head Coach Tata Martino.

Despite losing out on a penalty kick after a tape review deemed Josef Martinez offsides, Atlanta United came back in the first half at the 17th minute when Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored the first goal of the game, and his career playing for Atlanta United, with a corner kick.

“It’s a great joy and it will always go down as the first goal, but the most important thing is it helped our team win,” Gonzalez Pirez said.

Shortly after half-time Miguel Almiron crossed to Martinez who ran the ball into the back of the net to score the second goal. This makes the 10th goal of the season for Martinez who is becoming a star of the club since his return after a quad injury and foot contusion.

The team played with a great defensive strategy that shutout Dallas FC. Any attempts to score were thwarted by Brad Guzan who kept the sheet clean with two saves.

“When you cross those white lines it’s all business. We knew we had to give them something to cheer about and goals do that,” Guzan continued. “We have a dangerous team and we can beat anyone in this stadium. It gives us space to play and move.”

The size of the new field gives Atlanta United more room to run the ball creating opportunities to attack. Garza commented on the size of the field stating “I’m not slide tackling into the wall anymore.” The defender scored the third and final goal in the 68th minute with the assist by Tito Villalba who played a cross that looked meant for Martinez, but was passed to Garza for a wide open strike.

“I told him to dummy it. I just called over his shoulder and it worked,” Garza said. “But I think the most important part was the win.”

The next Atlanta United match is Wednesday, September 13 against New England Revolution at 7pm at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

About the Author
Patrice Worthy is a reporter at the Atlanta Jewish Times where she writes about Israeli politics, food, art and culture, ethnic Jewry and Jews in the Diaspora.