Atlanta United quickly rebounded from their midweek loss against Sporting Kansas City by defeating Orlando City 2-1 Sunday night in the Sunshine State(it was raining during the match, but whatever).
It didn’t take very long for Atlanta to find the back of the net, as they took an early 1-0 lead after Greg Garza drew a penalty and was pulled down in the box by Cristian Higuita. Josef Martinez stepped up to take it and converted in the 10th minute after his feint run-up caught Joe Bendik guessing the wrong way. The goal was Martinez’s eighth of the season.
What's cooler than being cool?— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 13, 2018
Josef from the spot ❄️ pic.twitter.com/IKINFWhqGg
Things got even better for the Five Stripes, as Greg Garza’s cross into the box found Ezequiel Barco, whose shot kissed the bottom of the crossbar and found the back of the net in the 31st minute.
Barco. Banger.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 13, 2018
He's going for back-to-back Goals of the Week pic.twitter.com/5Pp0nH3yAr
Alec Kann, who was returning from a knee injury and had yet to play for Atlanta this season, stepped up big in the absence of suspended Brad Guzan with his only save of the first half coming in the 44th minute. The good guys went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
Kann was called upon once again early in the second half, as Justin Meram’s left-footed attempt from the near post in the 52nd minute led to the Decatur native’s second important save of the match.
However, a bit of misfortune led to Orlando City’s first goal of the night, as Kann saved Will Johnson’s initial shot in the 57th minute, but a combination of his inability to punch the ball out of the box and Miles Robinson’s missed attempt to clear it led to an easy finish for Meram.
Tito Villalba nearly restored the two-goal lead in the 77th minute, but Bendik saved his shot on the 1-on-1 opportunity. At the end of the day, the two goals were all Atlanta needed to win a massive Eastern Conference matchup.
Overall, it was impressive to see the team continue to find ways to get three points on the road, as AU’s winning streak away from home now extends to four. Atlanta’s next challenge comes Sunday, May 20 against the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.