Atlanta United miss first chance at silverware, fall to Toronto 4-1

Atlanta United fell to Toronto FC 4-1 on Sunday night at BMO Field. Golden Boot winner Josef Martinez cut into a two-goal deficit with his 31st goal of the season in the 77th minute, but as Atlanta searched for an equalizer, Toronto added a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes to ice the match.

“Even though in the second half we tried a little more, I saw a team that didn’t play the football that we had played up until two or three weeks ago,” said head coach Tata Martino. “We have to recover that [form] if we want to have a chance in the playoffs.”

Toronto struck in the ninth minute to take the lead. Off a giveaway in the Atlanta half, Lucas Janson dribbled into the box and delivered a right-footed shot that redirected off of an Atlanta defender and into the back of the net.

Toronto doubled the lead 12 minutes later from Marco Delgado. Near the edge of the box, Jonathan Osorio dribbled out of pressure before finding Delgado alone on the right. After taking a touch, Delgado hammered a ball toward the far post, passed a diving Brad Guzan.

In the 76th minute, Julian Gressel played Darlington Nagbe through a pair of Toronto defenders and was ultimately taken down inside of the box by Ashtone Morgan. Martinez stepped up and slotted the attempt into the left corner.

Toronto scored a pair of goals late, both on the counterattack. Janson finished off his brace to make it 3-1 before Giovinco iced it five minutes later.

Forward Josef Martinez tonight won the 2018 Major League Soccer Golden Boot, establishing himself among the global game’s scoring elite, with a record-breaking 31 goals this season. The 25-year-old Venezuelan reached the 30-goal mark faster than any other player in the world this season.

The 31 goals tallied by Martinez surpassed global scoring icons Cristiano Ronaldo (26, Real Madrid) and Robert Lewandowski (29, Bayern Munich). His league production is eclipsed only by the reigning Golden Boot winners from the English Premier League (Mo Salah – 32 goals for Liverpool) and La Liga (Lionel Messi – 34 goals for FC Barcelona).

Atlanta United finished the 2018 MLS Regular Season with a record of 21-7-6 (69 points) and is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta will open its run in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 4. Atlanta will travel to face third-seeded NYCFC if it beats sixth-seeded Philadelphia Union. However, if the Union defeat NYCFC, Atlanta will face the winner of D.C. United/Columbus Crew SC. Atlanta will then host the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 11. Official kick-off times and broadcast information will be released at a later time.

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