Atlanta United winger Hector Villalba has apologized for making a gun gesture during a goal celebration in his team's weekend win against D.C. United.
Villalba, 23, scored in the 75th minute to seal the 3-1 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, and afterward he ran toward the team's supporters section and mimicked shooting a machine gun into the stands before celebrating with teammates.
When asked about the celebration by Atlanta station 11Alive, Villalba said he was copying the celebration of one of Rodrigo Mora, who plays for River Plate in his native country of Argentina.
"He's a player I admire a lot for his movement, and I try and mimic him," Villalba said of Mora. "And that's how he celebrates his goals so I kind of take after him and some of the things I try and do on the field in terms of my movement and skill set. So that's why I did it."
Villalba was then asked if he understood why the celebration might be seen as offensive to some in the crowd given the recent incidents of gun violence in the United States.
He said: "I understand. I don't understand politics in my country, let alone in the U.S. That's not how I intended it to be, and if I offended anyone, I'm sorry."