Minnesota United FC entered Sunday afternoon’s match at a snowy TCF Bank Stadium looking to put an embarrassing loss last week behind them, but Atlanta United FC spoiled the home opener, as a hat trick from Josef Martinez led Atlanta to a 6-1 win.
Atlanta strikes early
Atlanta got the scoring started in the third minute when Martinez found the back of the net to put the visitors up 1-0. They added a second goal just a few minutes later when Miguel Almiron scored his first goal of the season to make it a 2-0 Atlanta lead.
Minnesota had a chance in the 18th minute when Christian Ramirez took a shot from the right side of the box, but it was blocked. The first yellow card of the game was handed out in the 19th minute to Minnesota’s Rasmus Schuller for a tackle near midfield. Schuller had a scoring chance just seconds later, but it was also blocked.
Atlanta scored another goal in the 27th minute when Martinez scored his second goal of the match to make it a 3-0 Atlanta lead. They had another good chance just seconds later, but Minnesota goalie John Alvbage made a goal-saving challenge outside of the box to keep it a three-goal match.
Minnesota scores their first of the match
Minnesota finally got on the board in the 30th minute when Kevin Molino drew a foul in the penalty box, then proceeded to convert the penalty kick to make it just a two-goal match. They had another chance in stoppage time off a corner kick, but multiple attempts were turned away, which sent the match into halftime with a 3-1 lead for Atlanta.
Atlanta came out of the half and wasted no time, as in the 52nd minute, Almiron scored his second of the match to extend the lead to 4-1. Minnesota had a chance to respond in the 55th minute after Molino drew a direct free kick in the attacking half, but the shot was stopped by the Atlanta goalkeeper to keep it a three-goal match.
Atlanta keeps piling on
Atlanta tacked on another goal in the 75th minute when Martinez picked up his third goal of the match to make it a four-goal Atlanta lead. Minnesota tried to cut into the lead in the 79th minute when Mohammed Saeid setup Francisco Calvo in the box, but once again, the goalkeeper was able to make the save.
Minnesota lost their goalkeeper in the 84th minute due to an injury that occurred after a collision inside the box. He was replaced by Bobby Shuttleworth, who gave up one final goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Jacob Peterson scored off a corner kick. Thankfully for Minnesota, the final whistle blew after that, ending one of the worst losses in Minnesota soccer history.
The loss was the second for Minnesota and marked the first time in MLS history that a team conceded five or more goals in back-to-back matches. They will try and get in the win column on Saturday night when they travel to Colorado to face the Rapids. Atlanta, meanwhile, will host the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon.