Goals by Luiz Araujo and Dom Dwyer, from two assists by Josef Martinez, and another by 17-year-old Caleb Wiley in his MLS debut pushed Atlanta United past Sporting KC 3-1 on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in its MLS season opener.

It was a costly victory because Araujo was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury after his opening goal. It was just the second win in a league-opening game for the hosts, who are in their sixth season. It was witnessed by an announced attendance of 67,523.

It was the third time that Martinez, who was making his 100th career start for the club, posted two assists in a league game.

Atlanta United's Dom Dwyer (right) gets five from fellow attacker Josef Martinez after scoring a goal for a 2-0 lead over Sporting KC in an MLS soccer match Sunday in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

It wasn’t the prettiest performance by the Five Stripes considering the number of potential starters who weren’t available or were on the bench, but the team got strong contributions from winger Tyler Wolff, who had an assist on the second goal, its three central midfielders and fullback Andrew Gutman. Sporting KC was limited to two shots on goal.

Atlanta United finished with an Expected Goals total of 2.4 to Sporting KC’s 1.4, which manager Gonzalo Pineda said pleased him.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re happy about the result,” Pineda said. “And the performance as well, I think.”

Atlanta United’s starting 11 was composed of striker Martinez, wingers Wolff and Araujo, midfielders Amar Sejdic, Matheus Rossetto and Ozzie Alonso, fullbacks Gutman and Ronald Hernandez, centerbacks Miles Robinson and George Campbell and goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who was captain.

The bench was interesting. Because of injuries and absences, Pineda filled out the nine-man bench with two goalkeepers, instead of the usual one, two left fullbacks in Wiley and Mikey Ambrose, and two players, Brooks Lennon and Marcelino Moreno, who barely trained during the preseason because of injuries. Not available were new Designated Player Thiago Almada, who is in Argentina securing his visa, Alan Franco because of a red card given in last season’s playoff game, Machop Chol because of an injury, Santiago Sosa and Franco Ibarra, who are in Argentina securing green cards, Jake Mulraney because of injury, and Emerson Hyndman because he is recovering from an injury.

“So every game we tried to prepare the best squad possible,” Pineda said. “And today was very good for the players that started the game and then the subs, so I was pleased with that.”

Atlanta United's Caleb Wiley reacts after scoring his first career goal with a kick past Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia for a 3-1 lead and victory in an MLS soccer match Sunday in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Atlanta United got off to a poor start. Robinson and Alonso picked up yellow cards in the third and 11th minutes. Robinson’s came for a forearm to the face of a Sporting KC player. Alonso’s came for a very late tackle.

Atlanta United was fortunate to not fall behind 1-0 after the free kick for the Alonso foul. Guzan misjudged the free kick, allowing the ball to go to Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi at the back post. With Guzan out of position, Zusi’s shot was cleared off the line by a defender.

Atlanta United took advantage of its first chance created to a grab a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. Wolff and Sejdic combined to force a turnover in the middle of the field about 40 yards from goal. Wolff passed the ball to Martinez, who backheeled a pass to Araujo, who was cutting in behind him. Araujo took a touch and then chipped Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia.

It was a costly goal, though, because Araujo appeared to injure his right hamstring and was forced to be subbed off in the 23rd minute. Dwyer replaced him in the 26th minute. Pineda said he didn’t have an update on Araujo, but it didn’t look good. Pineda confirmed it was an issue with Araujo’s hamstring.

Atlanta United increased its lead to 2-0 in the third minute of added time on a goal by Dwyer. Wolff, in Atlanta United’s third of the field, played a pass to Martinez near the left side of the midfield. He turned and hit a cross-field diagonal pass into space for Dwyer to run onto down the right. Dwyer beat defender Andreu Fontas by cutting back toward the middle of the field and hit a left-footed shot for his first goal since Sept. 21, 2019, when he was with Orlando.

Pineda made his first sub in the 64th minute, putting on Lennon for Wolff. With the change, Dwyer moved to the left and Lennon played as the left winger ahead of Hernandez.

Pineda made two more subs in the 75th minute, bringing on Moreno for Martinez and Wiley for Sejdic. With the changes, Pineda had four fullbacks on the field in the traditional spot as well as on the wings.

Sporting KC scored in the 85th minute on a close-range volley by Daniel Salloi on a corner kick. The goal brought back nervy memories of last season, when Atlanta United dropped 13 points from winning positions at the 75th minute.

Wiley sealed the three points with a goal in the 89th minute on an assist by Moreno. Wiley ran onto the pass and hit a left-footed shot past Melia. He celebrated by blowing kisses to the supporters.

“It just shows how much love I have for this city and this club,” Wiley said. “They’ve given me so much. So it’s just a way of giving back.”

The team will play at Colorado on Saturday in its first road test.

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule/results

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 at Colorado, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

March 13 vs. Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FS1

March 19 vs. Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 2 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 10 at Charlotte, 1:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN Deportes

April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN

April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 2 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

Aug. 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

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