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Recap: Atlanta United clinches Champions League, outlasts Chicago, 2-1


MLS: Chicago Fire at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In the final home match of the regular season, Atlanta Untied held on for a 2-1 win over the Chicago fire as the Five Stripes tied the MLS record for points in the season, clinched a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League and moved one step closer to clinching the Supporters’ Shield.

Nine minutes in, Ezequiel Barco picked out Escobar with a gorgeous, cross field pass to the edge of the 18. With space and time, Escobar attempted to find Josef Martinez cutting goalward. When that didn’t work, Escobar decided to do it himself.

The opener was Escobar’s first-career MLS goal, and his first-career goal using his left foot.

“I don’t think it will happen again,” Escobar said.

Unfortunately for Franco, It didn’t take long for Chicago to cancel out his lucky goal.

15 minutes later, the Fire finally capitalized on a handful of chances to tie the game at one.

With the game tied again, Chicago held firm, going toe-to-toe with the league leaders and staring the Atlanta United juggernaut directly in the eye and nahhhhhh just playing, they gave up a goal like ten seconds later.

The second half saw a series of big missed chances for Atlanta going forward and a series of nervy moments for Atlanta at the back, but the Five Stripes did enough to kill the game and begin looking forward to a Supporters’ Shield deciding showdown in Toronto next Sunday. With the New York Red Bulls beating Philadelphia 1-0 today. The Five Stripes will need to better or match Red Bulls’ result with Orlando City to win the first trophy in club history. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m.

“After this there will be another goal to reach,” Tata Martino said post match. “There’s always goals to come until the final. But we’ve accomplished a lot. Getting into CONCACAF Champions League in our second season is a big accomplishment. To have done so while also setting the league record for wins in a season is important. But there are still goals to accomplish.”