Light your candles and grab your tissues, today is a sad day for Atlanta United fans. Not because of a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami, but because of the man who scored both of the Herons’ goals - Josef Martinez.
Yeah, I guess many of us could see this one coming from a mile away.
The lineup saw a few changes from last week’s defeat in Nashville. Derrick Etienne Jr started at right wing over Luiz Araujo after the latter was listed as “questionable” after suffering an adductor injury in the last match. For the second week in a row, Machop Chol was given the nod at striker, and Quinten Westberg, back from injury, started in goal over Clement Diop.
Both teams got off to a slow start, but after about 30 minutes, Atlanta started to find its attacking spark. The Five Stripes ended the first half with two shots on target and one off target. Encouragingly, all three shots were from inside the box, showing that Atlanta United could get into dangerous areas and create good shot opportunities.
Miami also got going toward the end of the half, putting four shots on target and two off target. Fortunately, Atlanta’s defense held strong and could keep the match scoreless at the end of the first 45 minutes.
The second half picked up where the first left off and it seemed like Atlanta United was poised to strike first in the match until Chol conceded a penalty in the 59th minute and none other than Josef Martinez stepped up to take it. The Atlanta United legend converted the penalty in his typical style, scoring his first for the Herons and his first against his former club.
Immediately after subbing in against his former club, Josef Martinez buries the penalty to give @InterMiamiCF the lead!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 7, 2023
Watch live on #MLSSeasonPass: https://t.co/sUbsjnzGov pic.twitter.com/p2xH4YwweX
But the 2018 MLS MVP wasn’t done yet. In the 75th minute, Martinez received a beautiful through ball and curled it around Westberg to grab a brace against Atlanta United. The Venezuelan striker reached 100 MLS goals with Atlanta United on the field, but an Inter Miami crest on his jersey.
Josef Martinez!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 7, 2023
With his second goal tonight, he becomes the fastest player in MLS history to score 100 goals. pic.twitter.com/KTotRxyEzF
In the 83rd minute, Miami’s Franco Negri was issued a yellow card for a tackle on Santiago Sosa, but referee Armando Villareal was called to the monitor and sent Negri off after seeing that he went in with studs up. Atlanta United found themselves a man up with seven minutes left in the match.
It took until the 91st minute for the Five Stripes to get on the board. A well-delivered corner kick found Andrew Gutman at the near post who nicked the ball into the back of the net to cut Miami’s lead in half. With just a few minutes of stoppage time left, Atlanta United find a glimmer of hope late in the game.
Unfortunately, the Five Stripes were unable to find an equalizer and the final whistle blew to conclude a 2-1 defeat on the road for Atlanta United.
What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments below.