Atlanta United defeated Inter Miami CF 1-0 Wednesday night in front of 42,519 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martínez scored the game’s deciding goal, which was his 100th across all competitions with Atlanta United. Martínez became the fastest player in league history to reach the century mark, accomplishing the feat in just 125 matches. With the win, Atlanta moved above the playoff line heading into the weekend.
Atlanta was awarded a penalty in the 76th minute when George Bello attempted a cross from the left side, but Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was called for a handball. Atlanta’s all-time leading scorer stepped to the spot and drilled the ball into the lower right side of the goal, sending Miami’s Nick Marsman the other way. He became the 16th player in MLS history to reach 100 goals in all competitions, and just the fifth to do it with one club.
Atlanta was threatening to score throughout the second half leading up to the penalty decision. In the 54th minute, Ezequiel Barco put a free kick on frame and a minute later Martínez had a shot hit the left side netting. Just before the penalty, Miles Robinson turned Gonzalo Higuain over in the midfield and found Jake Mulraney in space on the left side. The Irish winger cut the ball onto his right foot and unleashed a shot on goal, but it was hit right at Marsman.
The match featured an energetic opening 45 minutes with each side making hard runs but struggling to find a clear scoring opportunity. Atlanta had the best chance of the first half in the 36th minute. Robinson played a pass to Barco at the top of Miami’s penalty area where the Argentine one-timed a through ball to Luiz Araújo down the right side. Araújo put a left-footed shot on frame, but goalkeeper Nick Marsman spilled it in front of goal. Martínez pounced on the loose ball, but his attempt was hit over the crossbar.
Atlanta (10-8-9, 39 points) returns to action Saturday, Oct. 2 when it travels to face CF Montreal at Stade Saputo (7:00 p.m., Bally Sports South, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD