Atlanta United earned a stellar 2-0 road win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night despite being up well past their bed time on the east coast.
It looked like the Five Stripes would take the lead early when Miguel Almiron intercepted a pass and charged into the 18-yard-box to earn a penalty in the 16th minute. Josef elected to take it, stepped to the spot and…clanked it off the post.
However, Martinez would get his moments later. Almiron once again kick-started a counter attack with an excellent defensive play and bulldozed forward before smoking a shot off the crossbar. Julian Gressel picked up the rebound and followed suit by smoking a shot off the other side of the crossbar. Josef picked up the rebound and ignored the increasingly worrisome trend of smoking shots off the woodwork and finished an easy tap in to make it 1-0 Atlanta in the 22nd minute.
Peppering the goal @JosefMartinez17 pokes home the opener after Gressel smacks one off the bar pic.twitter.com/JBWlcRNYrV— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 22, 2018
Both teams continued to play end-to-end, open soccer the rest of the half, although that may have stemmed more from a tired Atlanta United squad and a Los Angeles team realizing Zlatan can’t play center back too rather than stunning, technical attacking play. LA benefited the most from the open-ended style of play the end of the half and found themselves with multiple chances. None were clear cut though and Atlanta did enough to escape into the locker room at the half with a 1-0 lead.
The second half continued in the exact same pattern. Both teams would trade chances that bordered on quality and neither could convert. Atlanta blasted the ball directly into Not Zlatan (Keeper Edition) a couple of times but couldn’t find the back of the net. Brad Guzan never had a moment where he had to work himself too hard.
It wouldn’t be until the third minute of stoppage time that the Five Stripes put the Fighting Zlatans away for good. Newly inserted Romario Williams found space on the left side and sprinted into the box. Not Zlatan (Defender Edition) fouled Williams and Atlanta earned their second penalty of the night. This time they converted.
The icing on the— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 22, 2018
Miggy is clinical from the spot to make it 2-0 just before the whistle pic.twitter.com/WnzwEvdwTf
Almiron’s goal sealed a phenomenal road win that kept Atlanta unbeaten in their last six games. The Five Stripes have now taken 16 points of the last 18 possible. Although, the win might be a little overblown because LAG was without their star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who never entered into tonight’s game and oh, oh really he did? Like, really? Ok, apparently, he played. Would never have known. Oh well, guess we’ll catch him next year at MBS.
In all, Atlanta outshot LA 19-7. The Five Stripes recorded seven shots on target compared to the Galaxy’s one. Atlanta also won the majority of possession for the first time since switching to a 3-5-2 formation. Tata Martino’s side out-possessed LA 55% to 45%. Seriously y’all it could have been a lot worse.
Atlanta United returns to action on Saturday, April 28 as they welcome the Montreal Impact to Atlanta fresh off the impact blowing 3-1 lead to LAFC, a team Atlanta United beat 5-0.