The second brace in the MLS career of Hector Villalba was enough to power visiting Atlanta United FC to a 2-0 victory over hosts Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium Saturday night, ending a three-game road losing streak and a five-game winless streak away from home for the expansion club and lifting them above Columbus in the Eastern Conference standings.
Villalba opened the scoring in the 27th minute, off an assist from Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann, and doubled the lead for the visitors with his eighth goal of the season in the 64th minute to secure a season sweep of Crew SC.
- NO HAT TRICK FOR YOU: Right after he kicked the ball into the goal for his second brace of the season, Atlanta United FC's Hector Villalba crumpled to the ground and grabbed his toe, appearing to try and relieve some cramping. Two minutes later, he was subbed out of the game, ending any chance he might complete his first MLS hat trick. Hey, the guy's 22. He's most likely going to have other chances to get one.
- MAYBE IT WAS A BAD MATCHUP: Crew SC started the same XI for the third straight game – the first time they've done that in two years. However, two of those three games were against Atlanta United, and Columbus lost both of those games, sandwiched around a 4-1 win last week over Montreal Impact. Atlanta's Hector Villalba scored three goals in the two games against Columbus, so apparently he's comfortable against the lineup Crew SC chose to go with.
- HE'S A TWO-WAY PLAYER: Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann had as many assists (one) as saves. He could have had a second assist, but his long ball up the middle in the 36th minute to send Josef Martinez in on the Crew SC goal ended up with Martinez shooting the ball wide.