MLS: Houston Dynamo at Atlanta United FC

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) celebrates after a goal against the Houston Dynamo in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta United returns to action today when it hosts D.C. United in a 4 p.m. match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

D.C. United enters the match in second place in the Eastern Conference while Atlanta sits in third, trailing D.C. by two points with a game in hand. The critical match will be broadcast nationally by ESPN.

This will be the eighth meeting all-time between the clubs and the second of the year — D.C. defeated Atlanta 2-0 on the opening day of the 2019 MLS season. Atlanta holds a 2-1-0 record at home with both wins coming at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Atlanta is 7-1-3 in 2019 and riding an eight-game unbeaten streak.

Atlanta is coming off a 5-0 win against Houston Dynamo on July 17 with goals scored by Darlington Nagbe, Brandon Vazquez, Julian Gressel and Josef Martinez, who recorded his 17th career multi-goal performance. Brad Guzan kept his league-high ninth shutout, one more than D.C. United’s Bill Hamid.

Martinez has scored in six consecutive league matches and seven consecutive matches in all competitions. Martinez now has 10 goals in his last six MLS matches and his 15 goals are second-most in MLS. The Venezuelan striker has scored against every current MLS team and has scored the most goals by any player in their first three MLS seasons (65 goals) after passing David Villa Wednesday.

Martinez is three goals off of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ mark of 68 goals for the most during any three-year span in league history. Martinez also maintains the league’s best goals per 90 minutes mark of all-time (.97) and leads Atlanta with four career goals versus D.C. United.

D.C. United travels to Atlanta for its second away match in four days after beating FC Cincinnati 4-1 Thursday with a brace from Lucas Rodriguez and goals from Paul Arriola and Wayne Rooney, who leads D.C. with 11 goals and seven assists this season.

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