Let’s flashback to Wednesday night when Atlanta United traveled up North to Cincy to take on the newest and worst team in MLS this season, F.C. Cincinnati. United were looking to bounce back in this away match after their disappointing loss at home to the Crew to keep their hopes alive of finishing in the top spot of the Eastern Conference Standings. This match was a must win for the 5-Stripes to keep up pace with the two teams standing in their way ahead of them, the Philadelphia Union in 2nd place and NYCFC in 1st place. Finishing 1st in the East would guarantee home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first round bye. At home, United are almost unbeatable with the rowdy 17’s playing a factor in the role of being the 12th man with their non-stop 90 minute loud support with various chants and songs developed by the a variety of United Supporters Groups. Like we all saw last year in the playoffs, nobody wants to come down here and play in Atlanta as every team was dominated against from the first match vs. NYCFC, then those annoying Red Bulls and finally in the MLS Cup Final against Portland, anyway back to the match recap.
The first half was basically a struggle to stay awake kind of half with minimal chances being created by both sides and mostly being a battle of possession for almost the entire first 45 minute of the first half. Gressel had two great chances but both missed the target and Guzan made a huge save on the line off a header from Van der Werff to keep the score at 0-0 heading into the lockeroom. This all would change in the second half when Josef Martinez would score a pair of goals within just 6 minutes! The fisrt one would come in the 59th minute when Pity Martinez played a perfect through ball towards Josef leaving him one on one with the goalie and just like he does best, he finished the shot with a powerful finish past the GK, making it 1-0 for the good guys. In the 65th minute, Josef would double United’s lead with an excellent curling finish with his left foot into the back of the net, his goal made the #1 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Thursday and keeps himself within distance of capturing the golden boot for a second straight season. Right now, Carlos Vela leads the way with 28 goals and Josef Martinez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are tied with 26, this race is tight and far from being over.
Atlanta United’s next upcoming match will be on Saturday, September 21st at home vs. San Jose Earthquakes in what should be a good matchup between two teams in the mix for high playoff positions in their respectable conferences. In just only two of their previous fixtures in the past two seasons both games have combined for 13 goals! United won the first match back in 2017 at Bobby Dodd by a 4-2 result and then in the second fixture last season who could forget that epic late night comeback by Atlanta in San Jose to overturn a 3-1 deficit and win the game in the last seconds of stoppage time by a final result of 4-3, glad I stayed up for that one. Atlanta United sit in 3rd place with 51 points, one behind the Philadelphia Union with 52 points in 2nd place and six behind NYCFC with 57 points in 1st place while San Jose sit in 6th place with 44 points fighting for one of the final playoff spots with other teams like F.C. Dallas and the Portland Timbers who are not far behind them in the Western Conference Standings. Saturday’s fixture should be an intense and fast paced one with both teams having something to play for as the regular season is coming to a close, who knows we might get another high scoring thriller, just with as having more goals then them. VAMOS UNITED!
The match between Atlanta United and San Jose Earthquakes will be on Saturday, September 21st at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with expected kickoff around 3:30 and will be live on the Univision Network.
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