Atlanta United bested Minnesota United 3-0 Wednesday Night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Franco Escobar gave the five stripes the early lead in the first half with Josef Martinez sealing the visitors’ fate late in stoppage time.
Atlanta came out strong and took five shots in the opening 20 minutes before finally breaking through in the 23′ minute. Julian Gressel attempted to find Pity Martinez with a through ball into the middle of the box, but his pass was deflected into the path of an unmarked Franco Escobar on the right side of the penalty area. The Argentine defender one-timed a right-footed shot into the left side of the goal to put Atlanta up 1-0. It was Escobar’s first goal of the season.
Josef Martinez, the league’s most valuable player last season, ended the match with a brace in stoppage time. Both goals were 1-v-1 with keeper Vito Mannone after mistakes were made by Ike Opara.
Martinez, who hasn’t really found his step this season, looked more like the Josef of last season who was clinical in 1-v-1 situations. Tonight, he reminded everyone just how dangerous he is when he’s ‘on.’
Dion Pereira has earned Frank de Boer’s trust and started with the first team once again. His fluidity and quickness remind me of the club’s first-ever goalscorer Yamil Asad. Pereira has a noticeable height advantage, a quicker first step, and is always willing to track back. Pereira had a complementary performance but the night belonged to Leandro González-Pirez.
After a collision of heads dropped LGP to the pitch and stopped play, he was treated (heavily taped) and was allowed to return to play. After two consecutive headers, he was forced to the sideline to get a new bandage because of bleeding. Again, he was allowed to return. He was never substituted, he never complained, he made a handful of touch-line clearances, and he led several counterattacks. Sacrificing his body in every way possible, LGP is my man of the match.
The five stripes will try to keep the good times rolling this Saturday, June 1, when they take on Chicago Fire.
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD