Major League Soccer added two expansion teams in 2017, and one of them had a huge night on Wednesday. Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC became the 21st and 22nd MLS franchises heading into this season. Atlanta United has not looked like an expansion team all season, and after last night’s 7-0 rout of the New England Revolution, people are going to want to take note of this team heading into the playoffs.
Atlanta United’s impressive 7-0 win on Wednesday broke or matched three MLS records, and cemented them as a true threat in the East. First, their winning margin of seven goals marks the largest margin of victory throughout the 2017 season thus far. In fact, it tied the record for the largest margin of victory in a game in MLS history, a feat that has only been accomplished three times before. Seven goals are the second most in a single game in MLS history. The LA Galaxy’s eight goals in their 8-1 victory over Dallas FC in 1998 currently holds the mark for most goals in a game. Josef Martinez notched his second hat trick of the year, becoming only the second player on an expansion team to accomplish the feat. In addition, Atlanta’s three combined hat tricks is also a record for an expansion team. Oh, and New England failed to take a single shot during the game, making them the first team in MLS history to finish a match with zero shots.
Atlanta United currently holds the fifth of six playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The team has plenty of offensive firepower with forward Hector Villalba joining Martinez among the top goal scorers in the league, with Miguel Almiron dishing out 12 assists, which is good for fifth in the league. They have the second-best goal differential in the league at +22. In addition, they have scored the second most goals in the MLS this season. Atlanta only trails Toronto FC, the best team in the league, in both categories. It’s safe to say that Atlanta is here to stay.