ATLANTA (AP) 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 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.
Dallas dropped to 9-8-10.
SOUNDERS 1, GALAXY 1, TIE
SEATTLE (AP) – Lamar Neagle scored in the 85th minute, just two minutes after subbing into the game, to give Seattle the tie with Los Angeles.
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.
CREW 1, SPORTING KANSAS CITY 1, TIE
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ola Kamara scored his 15th goal of the season for Columbus in first-half stoppage time and the Crew tied Sporting Kansas City.
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.