Atlanta United traveled north of the border to take on Toronto F.C. in their first MLS match since June 1st in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire at the Benz, just before the Copa America and Gold Cup International tournament competitions began in Mid-June.
Josef Martinez is the only player on United’s squad who is still on International Duty as his country of Venezuela advanced into the Quarterfinals of the Copa America and are getting ready to take on Lionel Messi and Argentina tomorrow. So for that reason in the Starting XI for last night’s match, Brandon Vazquez gets his first MLS start up top at striker. Vazquez has scored a total of 4 goals in both matches he played previously in the U.S. Open Cup, a pair vs. Charleston and a pair up in Columbus.
Right-Back Franco Escobar was also unavailable for the match vs. Toronto so Michael Parkhurst would take his place to go along with LGP and Robinson at Center-Back and Brek Shea at Left-Back. Darlington Nagbe and Eric Remedi would play at Central Midfield and Julian Gressel at Center-Attacking Midfield with Pity Martinez and Dion Pereira at the wings and Vazquez up top.
Things could not have got off to a worst start off for United as Tsubasa Endoh got on the scoresheet in just under 30 seconds of the game kicking off and gave Toronto the very early lead. In the 17th minute, United would equalize off a penalty kick goal by Pity Martinez as the referee called for a handball played by a Toronto player in the box.
Five minutes later Julian Gressel would capitalize off a poorly cleared ball by a Toronto F.C. defender sent in by Vazquez and he immediately pounced on it and smashed it home, giving United the 2-1 lead midway through the first half. Not long though after, Toronto would return Atlanta the favor and equalize in the 27th minute off a goal by Alejandro Pozuelo as he headed the ball in the net off a cross from Jacob Shaffelburg making the result 2-2.
The match would stay deadlocked at 2-2 until stoppage time in the second half as Toronto F.C. were awarded a penalty in the 92nd minute. Alejandro Pozuelo would convert that Penalty Kick in the 94th minute and gave his team the 3-2 lead and likely the victory, but not without a little drama. In the 95th minute Atlanta were awarded a penalty after the referee confirmed by looking and reviewing VAR that there was a handball by one of the Toronto players in the box. Pity Martinez stepped up to take the penalty kick, hoping to equalize and send United back home with a point in a thriller of a match… and then he skied his penalty kick effort over the bar and the referee blew his whistle to end the game in a chaotic ending and heartbreaking loss at BMO Field.
A penalty kick to forget for Pity Martinez as he really should have done better for a player like him with the experience he has. Atlanta will travel back home empty handed from Canada and will now get set to take on another Canadian opponent on Saturday, June 29 vs. the Montreal Impact at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as they look to get another victory at home. Kickoff for Saturday’s Match is set for 6:00 and will be live on FOX Sports Southeast and available to live stream on ESPN+. VAMOS UNITED!
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