Atlanta United beat Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 Wednesday night at BC Place for an MLS record fifth straight clean sheet victory. Josef Martinez buried his fifth goal of the season on a penalty kick in the first half as Atlanta earned its 12th point in the last 11 days. It was also Brad Guzan’s sixth shutout of the season to run his clean sheet streak to 456 minutes.
Atlanta was awarded a penalty in the 28′ minute after Pity Martinez was brought down inside the box. The play began when Josef Martinez and Brek Shea combined for a give and go on the left side where Martinez sent a cross through the six-yard box that was partially cleared and quickly dumped back in the box. Pity Martinez found the ball, made a move towards goal, and was dragged down by Vancouver’s Lass Bangoura. The Venezuelan stepped to the spot and placed his shot into the right side of the goal with enough pace to beat a diving Maxime Crépeau in the 29′ minute.
Atlanta produced several chances to extend its lead in the second half, most notably in the 59′ minute when it had three shots on target in quick succession. Tito Villalba sprinted behind Vancouver’s backline on a counter and took a low shot that was blocked by Crépeau. The ball bounced to a trailing Josef Martinez who quickly found Eric Remedi on the left side of the box where the Argentine midfielder ripped another shot on goal but was again blocked by Crépeau. An attempted clearance was immediately met by a diving header from Pity Martinez, but Crépeau came up with his third save on the play.
Florentin Pogba started his first MLS match and had quite the outing. “Yeah, I was waiting for this opportunity to get my first chance to play with the team, the first start,” he said post-match. I” think it went well, so thank God it did.”
Dion Pereira is starting to see more of the pitch and is coming into his own. Leandro González-Pirez was a wall the full-ninety and Atlanta’s defense has been adjusting nicely with this tight run of matches. It’s been nice to see a deeper rotation since the depth is there on the roster.
Atlanta United (6-3-2, 20 points) returns to action Sunday, May 19 against New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena (5 p.m. EST, FS1, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD