United opened the scoring early in Atlanta but could not seal the deal as the Black-and-Red fell to Atlanta United 3-1 Saturday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Zoltán Stieber scored his fourth goal of the 2018 campaign in the 8th minute of the match while Wayne Rooney made his first MLS start, but three goals from Atlanta’s Josef Martinez were enough to secure the victory for Atlanta.
The Black-and-Red struck first when a one-touch pass from Rooney hit Paul Arriola in stride and with plenty of time to create. With Stieber trailing on the flank, Arriola found the Hungarian with a well-placed pass and Stieber fired a shot past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan for the early 1-0 lead.
The teams traded chances for most of the first half until an Atlanta cross found Martinez in the six-yard box. The Venezuelan won the challenge against United goalkeeper David Ousted for the equalizer. Martinez went on to complete his hat trick in the second half to seal the 3-1 win for Atlanta.
The Black-and-Red return home to Audi Field for their first 2018 matchup against Atlantic Cup rivals the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday July, 25 at 8 PM ET. The match is United’s annual Night Out, presented by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.