Powered by a Pity Martinez brace, Atlanta United brushed aside Nashville SC 2-0 on Saturday night, starting with three points under interim head coach Stephen Glass after previously crashing out of the MLS is Back Tournament without a win.
The Designated Player first found net in the 40th minute, finishing via a brilliant solo run after collecting an Eric Remedi long ball. Martinez beat two Nashville defenders, then poked home past goalkeeper Joe Willis for the 1-0 lead.
Martinez again flashed his quality in the 87th minute, beating Willis with a one-time finish to the top corner for the 2-0 advantage. He rifled home a Mo Adams layoff, which arrived after Erick “Cubo” Torres ignited a counter attack during his first Five Stripes’ game.
Despite the positive result, injuries hampered Atlanta in their first match with Glass at the helm. Center back Fernando Meza hobbled off at halftime and was replaced by Miles Robinson, while midfielder Ezequiel Barco missed out through an undisclosed knock.
Even though Nashville couldn't find a way past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan, they attempted a game-high 15 shots. But the end product proved lacking, as the expansion club failed to build off earning four of six points from FC Dallas during a recent two-game stretch.
- THE BIG PICTURE: From an emotional and psychological perspective, this result will prove massive for Atlanta. They were uncharacteristically poor at the MLS is Back Tournament, resulting in the club mutually agreeing to part ways with head coach Frank de Boer. But now they’re back in the win column (their second victory against Nashville in 2020) and did so without some key players.
Best way to celebrate being back home 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LrtISfuHmt— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 23, 2020
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pity Martinez’s first goal had it all. The initial buildup and Eric Remedi’s long ball were both precise, and then the Argentine DP went into beast mode for the 1-0 lead.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: There’s only one logical choice here: Pity Martinez. He bagged his first brace in MLS, breaking a league scoring drought that stretched back nearly 11 months (last goal Sept. 25, 2019). Phrased another way, he stepped up in a major way with Ezequiel Barco out.