United Is Back At No.1 Behind Martinez Ties Record

Raphael Haynes
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Ga– Josef Martinez ties MLS goal record (27) to catapult the Atlanta United (25-15-4, 51 pts]) over Columbus Crew SC (11-8-6, 39 pts) 3-1.

Defensively, Lalas Abubakar for the Crew SC started the game by never leaving Martinez’s side.

Martinez got his opportunity to break loose after Julian Gressel stepped in front of a lazy pass at midfield and passed to Martinez ahead. The MLS leader in goals scored faked right and went left to shoot a dart pass goal keeper Zack Steffen for his 27th goal in the 31st-minute.

Although he celebrated on the field, Martinez didn’t have much to say. “When I get to 28 then I will have something to say,” said Martinez.

“There a very good team and there going to create their chances every now and then,”said Michael Parkhurst.

Both teams started off playing a 4-2-3-1 but Columbus was more aggressive on the defensive end. Atlanta still maintained their attack getting deep into their territory but wasn’t able to get a clean shot on goal early on.

At the start of the second half, Columbus came out aggressive and capitalize on a mis-assignment by Atlanta and Gysasi Zardes scored from a shot right outside the 18-yard box and past goal keeper Brad Guzan in the 50th minute.

“There a very good team and there going to create their chances every now and then,”said Michael Parkhurst.

Miguel Almiron had an opportunity to score in the 56th minute but Steffen made the save and Almiron couldn’t get off the drought of scoring a goal.

Joseph just missed his 28th goal by shooting a lazer over Steffen’s stretched out hands but it hit the top of the goal posted bounced back out in the 70th minute.

United took advantage of an opportunity where they had Columbus on a 3-2 break and Hector “Tito” Villalba scored by going left and shooting right to the corner of the net in the 76th minute.

In attack mode, Atlanta came right back and had a break where Martinez laid a perfect pass to Almiron who scored from outside the 18-yard box into the left corner of the net. It was his first goal since June 30th against Orlando City.

“I thought it was important for him to get that goal and now he can calm down and play,” said coach Geraldo Martino.

Atlanta was second in the standings and tied in points coming into the game. The three points put them back at the No.1 spot.

“Especially at home, it kinda sends a message to the two New York teams that this is ours to lose,” said “Julian Gressel.

Next match for United is against Orlando City on next Friday.

 

Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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