Finally moving into their glitzy new home, Atlanta United drew another sellout crowd, won for the first time in more than seven weeks and bolstered their playoff hopes with a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday.
Josef Martinez, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Greg Garza scored for the MLS expansion team, which thrilled the packed house of 45,314 with a dominating performance in its debut at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
United was supposed to begin the season at the $1.5 billion stadium it shares with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, but constructions delays pushed back the opening three times. Atlanta was forced to play its first nine home matches at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium, and two other games were rescheduled for later in the season.
The quirky scheduling resulted in United (11-8-6) having only nine home matches before Sunday’s contest, at least three less than every other team in the league. Since the team’s last home game on July 29, a 1-1 draw with Orlando, it had played just three games – all on the road, posting two draws and a loss.
Even so, Atlanta remained tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference and, having played fewer matches than any other team, still in prime position to make a run to the playoffs in its first season.
The victory was United’s first since a 1-0 triumph at Orlando on July 21.
Seattle 1, Los Angeles 1: Lamar Neagle scored in the 85th minute, just two minutes after subbing into the game, to give the Sounders a tie with the Galaxy in Seattle.
A long through ball by Osvaldo Alonso found Roman Torres down the right wing side, and Torres crossed it high into the penalty area. Neagle, in his fourth stint with the Sounders after being acquired in a trade with D.C. United on Aug. 7, sent a 16-yard shot off the side of his right foot past Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
The Sounders (11-7-10) extended their club-record unbeaten streak to 12 games (6-0-6).
In so doing, they denied Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid a win in his return to Seattle. Schmid, who took L.A.’s reins on July 27 in place of the fired Curt Onalfo, coached the Sounders for 7 1/2 years – from their inaugural season in 2009 through July 2016.
Gyasi Zardes gave the Galaxy (7-14-6) the lead in the 25th minute with his second goal of the season.
While the Sounders gained a point, they saw star forward Jordan Morris hobble off in the 60th minute. Morris pulled up lame while chasing a through ball and crumpled to the turf at the top of the Los Angeles penalty area. Information about the nature of the injury was not immediately available.
Columbus 1, Sporting Kansas City 1: Ola Kamara scored his 15th goal of the season in first-half stoppage time and the Crew tied Sporting Kansas City in Columbus, Ohio.
Columbus (13-12-4) had lost six of its last seven regular-season games in the series. Kansas City (10-6-11) snapped a two-game road losing streak.
Kamara headed in Pedro Santos’s corner kick to move within four goals of New York City FC’s David Villa for the Golden Boot award.
Cristian Lobato opened the scoring in the 19th minute with his first MLS goal. Columbus defender Jonathan Mensah misplayed a long free kick by Matt Besler and Lobato capitalized with a calm shot past Zack Steffen. Lobato, a Spanish midfielder, was playing in just his sixth league game.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia has only allowed a goal or less in five straight games, leading to 11 team points.