Atlanta United put together one of their best efforts of the year against a good Real Salt Lake side.
What a week for the Five Stripes. A complete demolition of the Colorado Rapids, a comeback for the ages against San Jose and now a solid showing against a playoff bound Real Salt Lake. Atlanta collected all nine possible points during the grueling three match in eight day in three time zone stretch.
Salt Lake came to town riding a four match unbeaten streak including back to back six goal explosions.
Atlanta United used a stifling defense and to hold the side with second most shots on goals to just three, and no goals scored. It was Brad Guzan’s 8th clean sheet of the season.
The balanced offensive attack led to goals from Julian Gressel (37′ assisted by Miggy) and Tito Villalba (61′ assisted by Julian Gressel). Josef also had a few chances but was unable to convert on any.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway was Atlanta once again demonstrating that they are more than Josef Martinez. Homegrown player George Bello made his debut and played brilliantly in 73 minutes of action.
He heard the love in the stadium… 🙌
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 23, 2018
The win puts Atlanta United at 63 Points (30 GP 2.10 PPG 19-6-5) on the season with four games remaining. If they win two of their final four 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. Atlanta has gotten points in 10 of the last 11 matches.
Also of note: New York Red Bulls (30 GP 1.97 PPG 18-5-7 59 Points ) beat Toronto FC Saturday afternoon. Atlanta leads the Red Bulls heading into their showdown by four points.
NYCFC (30 GP 50 Points 1.67 PPG 14-8-8) 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 cleared the way for Atlanta to clinch a knockout round bye. Atlanta can also clinch the CONCACAF berth with a win at Red Bull Arena next Sunday.
Continue on to the next page for a full scoring and statistical breakdown and a look ahead to what’s next.