Martinez claims match MVP after scoring goal, adding assist
Atlanta United won MLS Cup Saturday night by defeating Portland Timbers 2-0 in front of an MLS record 73,019 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martinez was the match MVP after scoring a goal and adding an assist on Franco Escobar’s second-half goal. Atlanta United and the City of Atlanta are hosting a parade through downtown Atlanta on Monday, Dec. 10, beginning at 10 a.m. The parade will begin at the corner of Peachtree St. and Baker St. and culminate in The Home Depot Backyard for a pep rally beginning at noon. The full route and details can be found here.
In the 39th minute, Martinez got on the end of a loose ball in the box. He took a couple touches to round Jeff Attinella and scored the opening goal of the night. Michael Parkhurst won the ball on a sliding tackle in Portland’s half. The ball ricocheted into the path of Martinez, who got by one Portland defender and the keeper for his fourth goal of the MLS Cup Playoffs, his 35th of the season.
Portland nearly equalized in the 43rd minute, after Sebastian Blanco got to the end line. He delivered a cross into the six-yard box, where Jeremy Ebobisse rose above the Atlanta defense, but Brad Guzan made a brilliant diving save to his right to keep Atlanta in the lead.
Atlanta doubled its lead in the 54th minute as Escobar got on the end of a Martinez flicked header at the back post and guided the ball past Attinella. Martinez was fouled to earn a free kick, which Miguel Almiron swung into the box. The Venezuelan striker rose in the box to win the header. Escobar gambled at the back post and delivered his second goal of the postseason to make it a 2-0 Atlanta lead.
Atlanta United 2, Portland Timbers 0
Shots: 9-8 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 4-3 Atlanta
Corner kicks: 2-2
Fouls committed: 13-12 Portland
Saves: 3-2 Atlanta
Clearances: 16-14 Atlanta
Offside: 2-1 Atlanta
Possession: 52-48 Portland
Passing Accuracy: 74-74
ATL – Franco Escobar (Josef Martinez, Miguel Almirón [HIGHLIGHT]
POR – Diego Chara (yellow) 80’
ATL – Chris McCann (yellow) 90+4’
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan; Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst ©, Jeff Larentowicz; Greg Garza (Chris McCann – 90+2’), Eric Remedi, Darlington Nagbe, Franco Escobar; Josef Martinez (Tito Villalba – 76’), Miguel Almirón (Ezequiel Barco – 90+1’), Julian Gressel.
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Miles Robinson, Kevin Kratz, Brandon Vazquez.
PORTLAND TIMBERS STARTING LINEUP
Jeff Attinella, Jorge Villafaña, Liam Ridgewell, Larrys Mabiala, Zarek Valentin; David Guzman (Alvas Powell – 82’), Diego Chara; Sebastián Blanco, Diego Valeri, Andy Polo (Dairon Asprilla – 68’); Jeremy Ebobisse (Lucas Melano – 59’)
Substitutes not used: Steve Clark, Andrés Flores, Lawrence Olum, Bill Poni Tuiloma.
Alan Kelly (referee), Ian Anderson (assistant), Eric Weisbrod (assistant), Nima Saghafi (fourth), Christopher Penso (VAR).