Martinez' hat trick helps Atlanta United beat Whitecaps 4-1
ATLANTA (AP) Josef Martinez had his fourth career hat trick on Saturday night to help Atlanta United beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1.
Vancouver (2-1-0) played a man down, and from behind, for most of the match after Kendall Watson was given a straight red card for elbowing in the 13th minute that led to an Atlanta penalty kick. Martinez, a 24-year old who was fourth in MLS with 19 goals last season, converted from the spot moments later.
Atlanta's Julian Gressel tapped a cross from the right side that deflected off Vancouver's Aaron Maund for an own goal and, about two minutes later, Martinez scored from the top of the box to make it 3-0. On the counterattack, Miguel Almiron fed Martinez on a breakaway for the easy one-on-one finish in the 60th minute.
Vancouver's Erik Hurtado, in his first appearance this season, slipped behind the defense, ran onto a long arcing pass from Jordon Mutch and rolled the ball past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 85th.
Martinez capped the scoring in the 88th with a leaping header off a cross from Andrew Carleton.
Atlanta (2-1-0) outshot the Whitecaps 21-5.
Updated March 17, 2018