At­lanta United beats LA Gal­axy in front of MLS-record crowd

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS -

At­lanta United scored a pair of own-goals in the first half and Josef Martinez added a penalty kick to fin­ish off a 3-0 vic­tory over the LA Gal­axy on Satur­day, push­ing the reign­ing MLS Cup cham­pi­ons into a first-place tie in the Eastern Con­fer­ence.

United (12-9-3), pulling even with Philadelph­ia at 39 points, stretched its home un­beaten streak to 10 games in a matchup be­tween two of the league’s top teams. At­lanta has never al­lowed a goal to the Gal­axy, record­ing three straight shutouts since en­ter­ing the league in 2017.

With the up­per deck opened up and an­other MLS record crowd of 72,548 cheer­ing on United, the home team re­sponded with one of its best per­for­mances in what has been an up-and-down sea­son un­der first-year coach Frank de Boer.

The Gal­axy (12-10-1) pro­vided plenty of help.

In the 23rd minute, Florentin Pogba re­trieved a long ball at the At­lanta end of the field and worked it up to Eze­quiel Barco rac­ing through the mid­field. Barco slid a nifty pass to Pity Martinez, who broke into the clear down the right side. Martinez tried to work the ball in front, where both Barco and Josef Martinez were lurk­ing, but the pass struck de­fender Dave Rom­ney, slid­ing across the area on his back, and de­flected past help­less goal­keeper David Bing­ham.

At­lanta made it 2-0 with a nearly iden­ti­cal play in the 43rd. This time, Justin Meram sprinted free down the left side and looked to get the ball to Josef Martinez, who was open in front of the net. De­fender Gian­carlo Gon­za­lez slid across to block the pass and wound up do­ing the same thing as Rom­ney — de­flect­ing the ball past Bing­ham.

At­lanta sealed the vic­tory in the 72nd after a video re­view showed that Emer­son Hyn­d­man was knocked down in the area by Gon­za­lez while go­ing for a rebound after Bing­ham made a bril­liant save to deny Josef Martinez. That sent Martinez to the spot for the penalty kick, which he ripped in­side the left post for his 18th goal of the sea­son.


above: At­lanta United mid­fielder Eze­quiel Barco reacts dur­ing the sec­ond half of an MLS soc­cer game against the Los An­ge­les Gal­axy, Satur­day, Aug. 3, 2019, in At­lanta. left and At­lanta United fans wave flags and cel­e­brate their team’s first goal in the first half of an MLS soc­cer game against the Los An­ge­les Gal­axy.

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