Atlanta United won a decisive battle against LAFC 1-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Both clubs were attack-minded in play, but it was Josef Martinez’s goal that pushed the five stripes past the visitors. The 1-0 victory marks their second consecutive win.
In the 31′ minute, Ezequiel Barco came close to a goal with a brilliant free kick just outside the box. It took a deflection off of Latif Blessing and was parried out of bounds by goalkeeper Tomas Romero.
Minutes later, Atlanta United found themselves in a 3 v 2 counterattack. With Josef Martinez last to touch, his low, near corner effort was saved by Romero. Immediately on the other end, Brian Rodriguez challenged Brad Guzan on the far post, but his effort was deflected away.
In the 40′ minute, Eduard Atuesta sent in a cross from a free kick to the far post to Mamadou Fall. The perfectly placed cross was headed past Brad Guzan, but to LAFC’s chagrin, VAR overturned the goal to keep the clubs deadlocked at nil-nil.
Just over a minute into the second half Josef Martinez finally got the best of Tomas Romero. On a counterattack, Ezequiel Barco was flying down the left flank and sent a low cross to the middle of the 18 where Martinez flew in and one-timed a rocket past Romero.
Martinez celebrated with an extended embrace of the assist man. “Barco, Barquito, he’s like my son,” Martinez expressed after the match. “Miggy (Miguel Almirón), Gressel (Julian) were special players. Barquito is a special player.”
It was a big win at home for the five stripes. A great boost of morale and another three points will help as they continue their playoff-push Wednesday, August 18, when they host Toronto FC (7:00 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD