Christian Benteke's hat trick propels D.C. United over Atlanta United

League: MLS

Posted on: 12 May, 2024 at 02:07 AM

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Benteke scored his second hat trick of the season to lead D.C. United to a 3-2 victory over host Atlanta United on Saturday.

D.C. United are 2-0-1 in their past three matches, and Saturday's win was D.C.'s first in six (1-1-4) road matches this season. D.C. also ended its six-match (0-5-1) winless streak against Atlanta dating back to the 2021 season.

Atlanta United (3-5-3, 12 points) are 0-3-3 in their past six league matches.

Benteke already has 11 goals in 10 matches, cementing the star forward as an early contender to win the MLS Golden Boot trophy. The star striker also scored three goals in D.C. United's season-opening 3-1 win over the New England Revolution on Feb. 24.

Benteke scored all three of his goals Saturday on headers. Beneteke's attack began in the 19th minute, when D.C. United (4-3-5, 17 points) moved the ball downfield quickly and easily with a series of long passes, culminating in Jared Stroud's crossing pass in front to Benteke.

D.C. took the lead on a similar goal in the 44th minute. D.C. United again had a lot of room to string together passes in Atlanta's end, and Stroud's first cross attempt was deflected back to his feet. The midfielder quickly tried again, and this time got the ball to Benteke for another successful header attempt.

D.C. defender Matti Peltola accidentally brought Atlanta level with an own goal in the 48th minute, but Benteke restored D.C. United's lead just seven minutes later. Benteke jumped to meet Mateusz Klich's corner kick and delivered the shot off the post and into the net for the game-winning strike.

Thiago Almada gave Atlanta United the early lead with a penalty kick in the 16th minute. D.C. United defender fouled Giorgos Giakoumakis in the box, resulting in the penalty call and Almada converting his third goal of the season.

--Field Level Media