Atlanta United earns point in front of record-breaking crowd

Josef Martinez becomes the third player in league history to record consecutive hat tricks

 ATLANTA (Sept. 16, 2017) — Josef Martinez recorded a hat trick for the second-straight match to help Atlanta United secure a 3-3 draw against Orlando City SC in front of an MLS record-breaking crowd of 70,425 fans. Martinez becomes just the third player in MLS history to record hat tricks in consecutive matches. Atlanta also extended its home unbeaten streak to nine consecutive matches.

“We’ve been saying it for a while but the support today was even better than usual,” Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino said. “We’re happy to play in front of a fan base like that. It’s clear that the fans have a fervent passion for soccer here — the same passion that our players have on the field. Today, we were able to come back three times from a goal down and I like that attitude from our team.”

Dom Dwyer started the scoring for Orlando City in the 10th minute. He powerfully finished a header past Brad Guzan after Donny Toia sent in a cross to the far post. But Atlanta equalized in the 36th minute thanks to Martinez. He tapped one in after Julian Gressel got in behind the Orlando defense, and ultimately past goalkeeper Joe Bendik, but as the ball rolled along the goal line, Martinez was able to put it away.

But Dwyer put Orlando ahead again less than three minutes later. This time the cross came from the right flank with Scott Sutter sending one to the far post again and over the outstretched arm of Guzan. Dwyer rose above the Atlanta defense and headed into an open net.

After halftime, Atlanta equalized in the 55th minute with Martinez heading in his second goal of the game. Chris McCann sent in a perfect cross from the left sideline and Martinez rose in-between two Orlando defenders to head it on goal, past Bendik. Orlando re-took the lead three minutes later, however, again from a headed cross. This time it was Dwyer sending it in from the right flank with Cyle Larin putting it away, short-side of Guzan, at the far post.

Martinez would not be outdone, though, equalizing again in the 69th minute. Tito Villalba sent in a cross to the near post that Martinez again beat Orlando defenders to. He then smashed one into the back of the net with his right foot.

Atlanta United (12-8-7, 43 points) returns to action Wednesday, Sept. 20 against LA Galaxy. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

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