MINNEAPOLIS — Atlanta United opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, and despite playing the majority of the match a man down, fought to record its first clean sheet of the season and a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium.
“Playing down a man is difficult in any league, but I think in this league it’s particularly difficult,” Atlanta United Head Coach Tata Martino said. “I think we were organized defensively and that’s what allowed us to get the result.”
In the 2nd minute, forward Tito Villalba cut inside onto his right foot inside the box and fired a low shot to force a diving save from Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Julian Gressel swung in the ensuing corner, which Lampson swatted straight to Villalba in front of goal. The Argentine’s powerful header bounced off the crossbar and ricocheted off of Minnesota captain Francisco Calvo and into the net for an own goal.
Atlanta defender Leandro González Pirez was sent off in the 38th minute after receiving his second yellow card of the first half. Atlanta played the remaining 52 minutes plus stoppage time a player down, yet battled to keep Minnesota off the scoresheet and earn three points on the road.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made three saves, including a stop in the 68th minute on Ethan Finlay from six yards out, and the Atlanta defense tallied 58 clearances on the night.
Atlanta United (3-1-0, 9 points) returns to action on Saturday, April 7 against LAFC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (5 p.m. EST, ESPN).