(The Sports Xchange) – Josef Martinez recorded his second straight hat trick, but Atlanta United had to settle for a 3-3 draw with Orlando City SC as the largest crowd ever to attend an MLS game, 70,425 fans, watched at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.
The previous Major League Soccer record was held by the LA Galaxy, who drew 69,255 fans to the Rose Bowl in their first-ever game in 1996.
Dominic Dwyer scored off two headers in the first half and assisted on Cyle Larin’s goal that put Orlando City in front 3-2 in the 58th minute.
Martinez answered in the 69th minute, getting a right foot on a pinpoint pass from Hector Villalba to tie the score 3-3.
The Five Stripes fans saw their squad extend their unbeaten streak at home to nine games.
Dwyer set the tone for the high-scoring, back-and-forth affair. The striker, who joined Orlando City from Sporting Kansas City in a midseason acquisition, got up high in the box and headed home a long, bending ball from Donny Toia to give the Lions an early 1-0 in the 10th minute.
Martinez tied the score in the 36th minute, finishing off a pretty setup from Julian Gressel. Gressel got to the back line before flicking the ball back across the net to Martinez for an easy finish.
Dwyer answered right back, though, heading home a long cross from Scott Sutter in the 39th minute. Orlando City took the 2-1 lead into halftime, despite being outshot 12-6 in the first 45 minutes.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)