Atlanta United send shock waves through San Jose before heading home to face RSL

Tata Martino
Tata Martino

After stealing three points in the Bay, the Five Stripes finally head home for a clash with Real Salt Lake

My how quickly things can change.

In a six minute span Wednesday night, Atlanta United went from down 4-1 to the worst team in MLS to tied 3-3.

Wait what? Shortly before Chris Wondolowski “scored” to make it 4-1 San Jose, the refs missed a handball in the box for Atlanta. After the goal, there was finally a stoppage in play to allow VAR (Video Assistant Referee) to review the play. After review, Atlanta was rewarded the penalty which Josef Martinez connected on and the San Jose goal was wiped out.

This was to much controversy. Nearly two minutes elapsed between the play and the review but everything was done by the rule book. Going forward MLS should look at potentially stopping play immediately when VAR is to be initiated.

Up to that point, Atlanta United were probably playing their worst game in history – yes worse than that Houston disaster. Granted, San Jose was playing with a chip on their shoulder after firing their manager after their prior match and making a change at Goalie. However, conceding three goals to the worst team in the league should not happen.

Being the final game of a massive month long road trip, Atlanta came out flat. Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst and Chris McCann in particular had uncharacteristically bad nights defensively.

After San Jose scored to make it 2-0, Tito Villalba fired an absolute rocket from deep to make it 2-1 heading into Halftime.

At that point it appeared that Atlanta had found their footing but 13 minutes into the 2nd half Valeri Qazaishvili scored an absolute beauty.

Things would finally turn around after the penalty/disallowed goal. As mentioned, Josef calmly netted the Penalty Kick to extend his MLS Goal record to 29. Just three minutes later, Miguel Almiron evened the score at 3.

Things would stay like that deep in to stoppage time as it looked like we were headed for a draw. Due to the review and and three goals in the half as well as six substitutions, a whopping six minutes of stoppage time were added.

That was enough time for Josef Martinez to send a late night shock wave through the Bay. His Header off the Miggy Cross would seal the deal for the Five Stripes.

Atlanta ended their road trip collecting nine out of the 12 possible points and came away with no serious injuries.

The win puts Atlanta United at 60 Points (29 GP 2.07 PPG 18-6-5) on the season with five games remaining. If they win three of their final five and tie in one other, the Five Stripes will break the MLS record of 69 points set by Toronto just last season. Atlanta is having a story book, record season but it won’t mean much without a MLS Cup victory on December 8th.

Also of note: New York Red Bulls (29 GP 1.93 PPG 17-5-7 56 Points ) face Toronto FC Saturday afternoon. A TFC win or draw would really help in the Supporters’ Shield race. NYCFC (49 Points 1.69 PPG 14-7-8) have really fallen off as of late which bodes well for the Five Stripes in multiple ways. If Atlanta manages to finish the season four points clear of NYCFC, an automatic berth to the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League will be scored. Also NYCFC removing themselves from the equation clears the way for Atlanta and NYRB to secure the knockout round byes. Atlanta United have already secured at least a four seed in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Continue on to the next page for a full scoring and statistical breakdown and a look ahead to what’s next.



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