On Saturday night, Atlanta United hosted the Houston Dynamo in yet another sellout at Bobby Dodd Stadium and Atlanta routed the Dynamo 4-1. Miguel Almiron, who had only two goals on the season, scored the second hat trick in Atlanta history and drew even with Josef Martinez for most goals on the team, while Julian Gressel notched his second goal. Houston got one back on a 90th minute penalty kick scored by Erick Torres.
Atlanta, who lost three in a row before a draw against the Portland Timbers got them back on track, were at one point first in the east but are now 2 spots out of the playoffs in 8th and 2 points behind 6th. United is sitting in a good spot having played only 11 games while 6th and 7th have played 13 and 12 games respectively. While this was an expected outcome as Houston has yet to win on the road this season, it was still an important victory for Atlanta United when it comes to getting back on track and back into the playoff picture.
Obviously, the biggest storyline of the game was Almiron’s hat trick, but an overlooked events of the match was the debut of 16-year-old homegrown prospect Andrew Carleton. Carleton, who is from Powder Spring,GA, scored in the club’s very first game, a friendly against Chattanooga FC. He’s also appeared for the US U18, U17, and U15 national teams where he has scored 28 goals in a total of 40 appearances. Carleton entered the game at the 85th minute for Almiron and received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The young man looks to be a future star in the making as we hope to see him in many more matches.
With the win, Atlanta appears to be back on their feet and should be able to get on a run and find their way back into the top 6. In early July, Brad Guzan will be joining the club in what will be a huge upgrade between the posts. Josef Martinez has returned to training, but not yet to the lineup, but with his return, we should see Atlanta United surge up the table. With the team’s top scorer on the verge of returning and the club starting to string a few positive results together this team could be a dangerous matchup in the coming weeks.