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If a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist, and a fight, then perhaps Minnesota United center back Kervin Arriaga invented a triplet of his own this week.

Arriaga scored a goal in the Loons' 2-1 victory at Atlanta on Saturday night. He earned a yellow card, for screaming at the referee after a foul call, deep into injury time. All this after he became a father for the second time Wednesday.

Call it the Grumpy Dad hat trick.

"He's just trying to catch up on sleep," defender DJ Taylor said. "We've been teasing [Joseph Rosales, Arriaga's road roommate] about letting him get some sleep at the hotel, yesterday and today."

Given what was presumably his first decent night of sleep this week, Arriaga's dad power got the Loons on the board first in the second half. Six minutes later, Tani Oluwaseyi doubled the lead for the Loons, and Minnesota United withstood a furious late rally by Atlanta, holding on to claim the squad's third consecutive victory, one that briefly put them on top of the Western Conference standings.

The Loons have earned 20 points through 10 games this season, the best start in club history.

Through the first 75 minutes, Minnesota ran its road-game plan to perfection: Stay compact on defense, get the ball down the field quickly on the counterattack, keep the other team off the scoreboard — and try to find a goal from a set piece or an opposition mistake.

Arriaga's goal came from a corner kick, the third week in a row that Minnesota has scored from a corner. "There's a reasonable level of detail to each of those goals that we've scored, but you can't look past a very good delivery," said Loons coach Eric Ramsay, giving credit to Rosales for an out-swinging ball.

Arriaga celebrated by pretending to suck his thumb and then rock a baby, a tribute to the newest addition to his family.

Oluwaseyi, meanwhile, was the one to take advantage of the Atlanta turnover. Midfielder Carlos Harvey poked away a bad pass in the middle of the field, and Oluwaseyi latched on to the loose ball, drove forward and beat keeper Brad Guzan low to his left from more than 20 yards out.

The striker's goal was his third in three games, giving the 23-year-old a goal in each of his three MLS starts.

BOXSCORE: Loons 2, Atlanta United 1

For all the assuredness of the first 75 minutes, though, Minnesota's plan went out the window in the 82nd minute, when Saba Lobjanidze pulled back a goal for Atlanta United. The Loons defense turned into a scramble for the final 15 minutes, as the home team piled forward in search of an equalizer.

In those final minutes, Atlanta ended up taking six corners and a close-in free kick, leading to five shots — including a header from All-Star forward Giorgos Giakoumakis that beat everyone but came back off the crossbar.

"Especially away from home, a lot of MLS games are just about fighting and being aggressive," Taylor said.

By the end, the Loons had conceded 16 shots from inside the penalty area. But they had also earned their league-leading fourth road victory.

Ramsay was more positive about the end of the game than might have been indicated by the spike in blood pressure for Loons fans.

"It wasn't a pretty way to close a game out, but if you had to watch back, in most moments, we were very well connected, we were very much together, and the front players made sure they stayed in touch with the remainder of our defensive blocks," Ramsay said.