Atlanta United opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium in grand fashion Sunday, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 in front of a sold-out crowd of 45,314. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Josef Martinez and Greg Garza tallied goals, while the team compiled a season-high 12 shots on target. Brad Guzan made two saves to keep the clean sheet.
“The stadium is so impressive that it’s tough not to talk about what the stadium represents,” Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino said. “But I have to talk about how the team played. With everything that we have coming and the eight games in 23 days, I think the most important is the performance. Against an opponent that generally we were better than, but in some situations, they put us through tough moments.”
Atlanta struck first in the 17th minute from Gonzalez Pirez off a corner kick. Atlanta played it short, allowing Miguel Almirón a free look at a cross that he dumped into the box. Tito Villalba headed it on toward the far post, where Gonzalez Pirez was able to get a touch with his right foot to direct it in.
Martinez doubled the lead right after halftime with Atlanta forcing a quick turnover before breaking toward the Dallas goal. Almirón crossed for Martinez, who easily drilled one into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season, tying a team lead.
Garza added a third goal in the 68th minute with Villalba picking up his second assist. The winger played a cross into the box that looked destined for Martinez, but the striker let it pass for a wide-open Garza, who easily tapped it into an open net.
Atlanta United (11-8-6, 39 points) returns to action Wednesday, Sept. 13 against New England Revolution. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on FOX Sports South.
Martinez scores 10th goal of season, Gonzalez Pirez and Garza add tallies