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Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United, recap: Five Stripes go top of MLS with win

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TOP OF THE LEAGUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United leaped to the top of the league with a 2-1 road win over the Chicago Fire Saturday night thanks to Ezequiel Barco’s first MLS goal and Josef Martinez’s seventh goal of the season.

The first half definitely happened.

Both teams missed a couple of decent chances and that’s really all there is to say about that.

The second half was considerably more exciting.

In the 53rd minute Miguel Almiron made a stellar run and slipped a pass through the Chicago back line to find Ezequiel Barco in on goal. Zeke didn’t disappoint.

A few moments after Barco’s first goal in the Five Stripes, Atlanta struck again. A Greg Garza through ball after a stunning team move found Darlington Nagbe in on goal. Nagbe – who made a phenomenal run to set up the goal -- unselfishly laid the ball off for Josef Martinez to bash the ball into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

That lead wouldn’t last long though. In the 61st minute, the Atlanta backline left Kevin Ellis unmarked at the top of the box and Ellis banged home a stunning volley past Brad Guzan to make it 2-1.

Despite subbing on Alan Gordon, Chicago was unable to find the back of the net again and Atlanta held on for a 2-1 win. With the win the Five Stripes lead NYCFC – who lost 4-0 today in the Hudson River Derby – by two points with a game in hand in the Supporters Shield race. Atlanta has won seven of their last eight games, and has yet to lose since a 4-0 loss to Houston in the first game of the season. The Five Stripes are 3-0-1 on the road in 2018.

The win comes in the first game of a difficult three game stretch for Atlanta. The Five Stripes welcome Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City to the Benz this Wednesday before traveling to face a streaking Orlando City. It won’t matter though because we’re pretty much unbeatable at this point.