The game turned very early, as Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston was sent off in the 13th minute for a foul on Leandro Gonzalez Pirez in the box on a free kick, following Video Review. Josef Martinez converted the subsequent penalty to put the hosts ahead.
Atlanta enjoyed a plethora of chances after the red card, but were wasteful with them until just before the hour mark, when a sustained Atlanta build-up led to an own goal by Vancouver defender Aaron Maund. Two minutes later, Martinez received a beautiful pass from Miguel Almiron and scored his second goal of the night on a breakaway.
Erik Hurtado came off the bench and scored a consolation goal late on from a breakaway for Vancouver. But Martinez completed his hat trick a few minutes later, on a header following a terrific assist from Homegrown midfielder Andrew Carleton.
- 15' - ATL - Josef Martinez (PK) | WATCH
- 58' - ATL - Aaron Maund (OG) | WATCH
- 60' - ATL - Josef Martinez | WATCH
- 85' - VAN - Erik Hurtado | WATCH
- 88' - ATL - Josef Martinez | WATCH
- The Big Picture: After a Week 1 stumble, Atlanta United have proven in back-to-back games that they can score in bunches and pick up three points in dominant fashion. Of course, this game was a little different with Vancouver losing their key defender so early. For the Whitecaps, it's the kind of game to shake off and look ahead to the next one.
- Moment of the Match: The play that led to Waston's red card has to be the call here. Vancouver hung tough on defense for an hour to keep the game within reach, but the foul on Gonzalez Pirez by Waston, which is sure to be a hot topic coming out of the match, really put the Whitecaps in a tough position against Atlanta United's vaunted attack.
Video Review awards Atlanta a penalty and Waston is sent off in the 13th minute. pic.twitter.com/YRwDtKoJ0U— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) March 17, 2018
- Man of the Match: Julian Gressel deserves an honorary mention for pushing play forward throughout, but Martinez's desperation to score was palpable -- and he came through with the hat trick to complete the win.