New England Soccer Today

Nightmare in Atlanta

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

A nightmare of a first half for the Revolution set the stage for its worst loss in club history, a 7-0 annihilation at the hands of expansion Atlanta United FC on Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.

Within the first 45 minutes, the Revolution surrendered three Josef Martinez goals (2nd, 31st, and 39th minutes), conceded a pair of penalties, witnessed the dismissals of Xavier Kouassi and Antonio Delamea, and watched Anton Walkes score during stoppage time.

The second stanza wasn’t as cruel for the nine-man Revolution, but it wasn’t great, either. Kevin Kratz scored a spectacular free kick in the 70th minute before Yamil Asad scribbled his name on the scoresheet the 73rd minute. Hector Villalba netted goal no. 7 in the 89th minute to give the sellout crowd of 42,511 its money’s worth.

With the loss, the Revolution remain winless on the road (0-11-3), and watched their postseason hopes dim as a result. Atlanta’s victory was their second straight after beating FC Dallas 3-0 on Sunday.

Martinez opened the scoring right out of the chute after he raced onto a through ball from Miguel Almiron and authored a sensational finish to put the Revolution in an early hole.

Not long afterward, Andrew Farrell and Gershon Koffie were both booked, but in the next card flashed was the color red after Xavier Kouassi was sent off after putting his studs into Leandro Pirez in the 16th minute.

Fifteen minutes later, Je-Vaughn Watson was cited for a handball inside the 18, setting up Martinez’s second goal, which he smashed through from the spot in the 31st minute.

But wait. There was more.’

Down a man, and with Baldomero Toledo’s watch ticking painfully slow, a second penalty and red card was issued to Delamea for a handball of his own in the 37th minute. Moments later, Martinez had his hat trick.

Just when it seemed like the first half couldn’t get any worse, Walkes took advantage of the numbers when he made an unmarked run to the far post, where he converted a Greg Garza cross deep in stoppage time.

Cody Cropper made a bold save on a breakaway steered by Villalba in the 56th minute to delay Atlanta’s fifth goal.

But a fifth strike eventually arrived in the 70th minute on a free kick lashed by Kratz from 25 yards.

Goal number six emerged in the 73rd minute when Chris McCann pounced on a Teal Bunbury giveaway and fed Asad, who ripped a low skipping drive that beat Cropper at the far post.

Seconds before the final whistle, Atlanta netted its seventh after Villalba pounced on a loose ball in the box and punched it through.

Despite the abysmal showing, the Revolution are sure to welcome a quick turnaround with Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on tap. Kickoff is 8:30pm ET.

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