Atlanta United Defeats Columbus Crew SC 2-0
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Atlanta United defeated Columbus Crew SC 2-0 on Wednesday night at MAPFRE Stadium to extend its road unbeaten streak to seven consecutive matches. Josef Martinez scored his league-leading 14th goal of the season while Tito Villalba scored in his first appearance since May 20. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made three saves for his fourth shutout of the season and Atlanta extended its lead on the Supporters Shield race to four points.
Off to a flying start again, Atlanta scored the first goal of the match for the 13th time in 16 MLS matches this season. Martinez headed home a 30th minute goal off of a corner kick that resulted in Ezequiel Barco's first assist in club history. Barco floated one toward the far post that Martinez was able to sneak around the defense and powerfully head toward the right corner, beating a diving Zack Steffen. The goal snapped Steffen's shutout streak at 525 minutes.
Martinez was injured on the play, colliding with Artur after he made contact with the ball. He finished the half but was substituted off for Romario Williams at halftime.
Led by a strong performance from midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, Atlanta's defense held strong in the second half as it played with a four-man backline for just the third time this season. Atlanta then put the game away in the 82nd minute from second-half substitute Villalba. Miguel Almiron started a counterattack by picking up a ball near midfield and had acres of space in front of him. After dribbling nearly inside of the penalty area, Almiron crossed for a wide-open Villalba, who took one touch before blasting a shot past Steffen.
Atlanta United (10-3-3, 33 points) returns to action at home against Chicago Fire on Wednesday, June 20 for a Round of 16 matchup in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (7:30 p.m., ATLUTD.com/live). It returns to MLS action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Portland Timbers on Sunday, June 24 (4:30 p.m., FOX).
Atlanta United 2, Columbus Crew SC 0
Shots: 13-6 Columbus
Shots on Target: 3-3 Columbus
Corner kicks: 5-3 Columbus
Fouls committed: 10-10
Saves: 3-1 Atlanta
Clearances: 15-12 Atlanta
Offside: 2-0 Columbus
Possession: 54-46 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 83-81 Atlanta
ATL - Josef Martinez (Ezequiel Barco) 30' [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL - Tito Villalba (Miguel AlmirÃ"n) 82' [HIGHLIGHT]
ATL - Michael Parkhurst (yellow) 8'
ATL - Mikey Ambrose (yellow) 27'
ATL - Franco Escobar (yellow) 72'
CLB - Wil Trapp (yellow) 81'
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan; Mikey Ambrose, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst ©, Franco Escobar; Jeff Larentowicz, Darlington Nagbe, Julian Gressel; Ezequiel Barco (Tito Villalba - 76'), Josef Martinez (Romario Williams - HT), Miguel Almiron (Miles Robinson - 86').
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Sal Zizzo, Kevin Kratz, Brandon Vazquez.
COLUMBUS CREW SC STARTING LINEUP
Zack Steffen; Milton Valenzuela, Lalas Abubakar, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful; Wil Trapp © (Adam Jahn - 83'), Artur; Cristian Martinez (Luis Argudo - 64'), Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos (Eduardo Sosa - 64'); Gyasi Zardes.
Substitutes not used: Jon Kempin, Mohammed Abu, Hector Jimenez, Gaston Sauro.
Ted Unkel (referee), Kyle Atkins (assistant), TJ Zablocki (assistant), Hilario Grajeda (fourth), Baldomero Toledo (VAR).
Atlanta hasn't allowed a goal at MAPFRE Stadium in two appearances. They've now won both matches by a score of 2-0 beating Crew SC by the same score on July 1, 2017.
Atlanta also became the first team to shutout Columbus at MAPFRE Stadium since the last time it was here last season.
Martinez scored a goal for the fourth consecutive match. It's the second time in his career he's scored in four consecutive matches.
It's tied for the league's longest streak this season with five other players.
It was the 14th goal of the season for Martinez, which leads the league. It extends his lead to four over Columbus' Gyasi Zardes.
Atlanta improved to 8-0-1 when leading at halftime.
Atlanta improved to 9-1-3 scoring first.
Jeff Larentowicz started his 354th career MLS game. He's in fifth place in MLS history by a field player.
Larentowicz also appeared in his 373rd career game. He's also in fifth place in MLS history by a field player.
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