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Atlanta score blizzard of goals to thrash Minnesota

(Reuters) - Venezuela international Josef Martinez scored a hat-trick as Atlanta United won a battle of Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion teams with a 6-1 blitzing of Minnesota United in heavy snow on Sunday.

Atlanta produced a blizzard of goals and were 3-0 up inside 27 minutes as their home opener in Minneapolis turned into a nightmare for Minnesota on the snow-covered pitch.

Minnesota have leaked 11 goals in their first two matches.

Paraguay international Miguel Almiron added two goals for Atlanta, who bounced back after losing at home in their MLS debut last week.

Sunday's match was played with an orange ball in sub-freezing weather and play had to be stopped several times for the snow to be cleared from the touchlines.

In other games, New York City FC hammered D.C. United 4-0 at Yankee Stadium, with Spanish veteran David Villa scoring twice.

Villa, who netted 23 times last season, bagged his first goal of the new season with a well-placed header, before adding a second with a left-footed strike from an acute angle.

In sunny southern California, Portland Timbers edged Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0, Colombian midfielder Diego Chara scoring the early winner on the break.

Los Angeles played nearly an hour with only 10 men after Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme was sent off for two yellow cards.

The Galaxy almost equalized in the dying seconds, with Portland keeper Jake Gleeson making a fine reaction save from a Jose Villarreal glancing header.

After two rounds, the Timbers are one of four teams with perfect 2-0-0 records, along with Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)