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Purata hat-trick hero in 4-2 win against Toronto FC

It's a bird, it's a plane, no... it's Air Force Juan.

The atmosphere in Mercedes-Benz Stadium was electric on Saturday as Atlanta United defeated Toronto FC 4-2 in an absolute thriller of a game.

The midweek drama seemed to strike a chord with the team who bossed the game from start to finish. Their passing was excellent, they created plenty of chances and put on a spectacle the fans truly deserved.

The starting lineup was similar to the one used in the last few games, a 4-2-3-1 with Ronald Hernandez playing as a right wing-back and Brooks Lennon pushing forward at right wing. Luiz Araujo switched over to the left this time and the striker of choice was Dom Dwyer.

Atlanta's first chance would come early in the 11th minute when Brooks Lennon was fouled in the box and drew a penalty. With Josef Martinez out due to a suspension, Luiz Araujo stepped up to take it, but it was saved and the score remained level.

Atlanta fans were in for a scare just minutes later as the referee pointed to the spot to award a penalty kick to Toronto for a foul on Federico Bernardeschi inside the box. The decision went to VAR and was, to the relief of many, overturned.

The breakthrough would come in the second half after a corner kick delivery found Juanjo Purata in the box who slotted it home to put the Five Stripes up 1-0.

Toronto didn't take long to respond, however, as they scored after a good bit of build-up play inside the box.

Just minutes later, Purata headed it home to give Atlanta the lead again. Unfortunately, the celebrations were short-lived as Purata conceded a penalty to Toronto minutes later. Bernardeschi converted the spot kick and the game was level at 2-2.

It all looked like a case of same-old, same-old until Almada unleashed a lovely bit of skill and a shot from outside the box that curved beautifully into the top corner. The goal was his 5th of the season and put the Five Stripes ahead 3-2 in the match.

The closing statement could come from no other - Juanjo Purata scored once again in the 87th minute to secure the win and grab his first hat-trick with the club. He became just the fourth player in Atlanta United history to score a hat-trick and has become the club's third-leading scorer with six goals this season since coming on loan from Tigres in July.

The result put Atlanta back in 10th place with 36 points, 5 points away from a playoff spot with 4 games to go. Their next game will be Wednesday away against Orlando City.

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