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RECAP: Martinez and Martinez score late, Atlanta United takes down D.C.

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As many goals as votes that count

MLS: D.C. United at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA, Ga. - On the verge of an extremely disappointing result, Pity Martinez gave Atlanta United the lead in the 89th minute and Josef Martinez added a second moments later to give the Five Stripes a huge win heading into the toughest stretch of the year.

The things that happened in the game that was played

The first half was fun. No one scored but there were chances on both sides. Both keepers did some things. Each team put two shots on goal. That’s all. Not sure what else you’re looking to read from this part.

The game flowed in much of the same way in the second half until it appeared that Atlanta United had finally found a breakthrough. D.C. fouled Josef Martinez in the box and the reigning golden boot winner stepped up to the spot the same way we’ve seen millions of times before and the weight of an expected goal hung in the are and Josef moved toward the ball that had been carefully placed onto the island in the middle of the 18-yard-box and then.........

He missed real bad y’all.

With Atlanta’s window of opportunity growing smaller and smaller and another disappointing result on the horizon, the Five Stripes looked to the one guy none of us have ever doubted at any point in this season ever ever ever: The recently subbed Pity Martinez.

D.C. now had to push forward to pull one back in stoppage time. Josef decided he’d like to take the opportunity to make up for the missed penalty (with a little help from, again, Pity Martinez).

A Recap Thought: Look, it’s not a great result but at least it actually looks like they remembered how to soccer

WE ARE THE GREATEST TEAM IN THE WORLD

Might be exaggerating a bit there but this team has looked as sharp over the last two games as in any stretch of the year. Once again it looks like Atlanta United is discovering late in the year that the 3-5-2 might be what kicks this team into a higher gear. It’s still unclear how each piece fits into the puzzle — Especially when pieces that haven’t fit all that well all season suddenly score and assist on two late goals as a substitute — but for the first time in a while it feels like this team is finding an identity and a level of intensity that had been nonexistent.

“ I just said to the guys I’m really proud of them. D.C. is a really good team and we dominated from the beginning. They are good in transition and we escaped a couple of times. But still we made the game and we created our chances,” Frank de Boer said.

“For me, it was really satisfying for me to see that everyone was involved with the intensity of the game and the concentration. I think there was only one team that deserved to win tonight and it was Atlanta United.”

The question going forward remains how de Boer will make returning pieces, like Ezequiel Barco, and pieces beginning to regain form, like Pity, fit into the equation. De Boer believes the 3-5-2 suits his available personnel well, but knows that performances like the one Pity had today are going to make selecting an XI extremely difficult.

“We always have the confidence but I always look to the best team at the moment. That’s why they hired me. I always feel for players. I know the background and everything and I know Pity expected much more of himself but the only reaction he can give me is *this*,” de Boer said.

“I asked him to be in the box and he was in the box when the cross came. That’s what you want if you play behind the striker and also the energy he put in. So he has to make my life as hard as possible and he’s doing that right now. Then I have to make the decisions.”

No matter who de Boer puts out there, the Five Stripes are going to need to play at their highest level this year if they hope to get much out of the upcoming stretch of games, which include a US Open Cup semifinal in Orlando, and a Campeones Cup Final against Club America. Throw in looming matches with LAFC, the Galaxy and NYCFC and you have ohmygod like honestly like you’re probably going to be very happy with four points and a win in one of the cup games?

But hey, for now, things are fun again in Atlanta. That’s all we can ask for right?

DSS Man of the Match

El Pity.

A goal and assist when Atlanta needed it most.

Larentowicz Man of the Match (Your unsung hero(es))

Emerson Hyndman didn’t get it last week and someone got real upset about him not getting this fake award I made up so Emerson gets it for being once again very solid. Emerson, your check is in the mail.

Tweet of the Night

If couldn’t be self involved enough to give the Larentowicz award to Jeff you know I was definitely giving myself tweet of the night. Welcome to DSS.

What’s next?

LAFC on Friday. 10 p.m. start. Carlos Vela won’t miss the chances Atlanta gave up on the break today. Juuuusssssssttt saying.

Them Five Stripes is Hell?

Indeed tonight, they are.