A lightning delay was not enough to slow down Torrid Josef Martinez.
Despite remaining on top of the Supporters’ Shield standings, Atlanta United had not strung together back to back wins in MLS play since May 5th. It would be a tough task to do so north of the border against a suddenly hot Montreal Impact team.
Josef Martinez would net two more goals to come within just three of the all time single season record in the Five Stripes 2-1 victory at Stade Stapudo. After Montreal seemed to control the possession battle for the better part of the first 25 minutes, Josef was able to score on a header from Tito Villalba.
Montreal would again possess the ball a good part of the rest of the half but would walk away empty handed with Atlanta still leading 1-0.
Despite the forecast calling for a clear night a pop up thunderstorm moved through the area at halftime causing a hour long rain delay. That wouldn’t be enough to slow down Josef though. In the 57th minute he was able to clean up a loose ball with Evan Bush off his line for goal 24.
Leading 2-0 approaching the 90th minute, it appeared Atlanta would be able to cruise to victory. Montreal however was not finished. Ignacio Piatti was able to net one out of the reach of Brad Guzan. Atlanta would hold off multiple Impact ambushes to secure their 7th road victory of the season and ending Montreal’s home win streak.
At the end of the day, this could be considered one of the best victories of the year for the Five Stripes. It was great to get a win in a game where they were out possessed 56 to 44.
It was also nearly back to back Hat Tricks for Josef as his header fell just right of the box in the 17th minute as well as coming close on a few other opportunities. Martinez now leads the Golden Boot lead by 10 (24-14) over Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The win puts Atlanta United at 47 Points (23 GP 2.04 PPG 14-4-5) on the season with 10 games remaining. If they continue at this pace they would match the MLS record of 69 points set by Toronto just last season. Also of note Saturday Evening was New York Red Bull’s (41 Points 21 GP 1.95 PPG) 3-2 loss to The Crew to give Atlanta a bit of breathing room in the race. NYCFC (43 Points 21 GP 2.05 PPG) Points visits Seattle Sunday afternoon where a Loss or Draw would also be a tremendous result for Atlanta. If Atlanta manages to finish the season 4 points clear of NYCFC, an automatic berth to the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League will be scored.
Continue on to the next page for a full scoring and statistical breakdown and a look ahead to what’s next.