Atlanta United Defeats Toronto FC 2-0
ATLANTA - Goals from Tito Villalba and Julian Gressel lifted Atlanta United to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC Wednesday night in front of 42,537 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Villalba found the net for the first time this season, Gressel netted his second and Josef Martinez recorded his first multi-assist game in his MLS career to run Atlanta's win streak to three matches. In addition to posting its third consecutive clean sheet, Atlanta held Toronto FC without a shot on target, marking only the second time in club history to accomplish that feat (September 13, 2017 vs. New England).
In the team's first match without Ezequiel Barco after being named to Argentina's 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad, Villalba was inserted into the starting lineup and made an instant impact by giving Atlanta United the lead in the 17th minute. The play began with Gressel winning a free kick just outside of the 18-yard box on the right side. Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez nearly scored with a curling free kick that forced Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono to make a diving save to his left. Josef Martinez rushed to the loose ball on the right side and delivered a pin-point cross into the six-yard box where Villalba tapped it into the net.
Villalba nearly scored his second of the night in the 41st minute. The Paraguayan international made a run from midfield, dribbled through a trio of defenders along the edge of the penalty area before firing a shot that rattled off the left post.
Atlanta scored its second goal in the 67th minute to seal the victory. Josef Martinez received a pass from Villalba at the top of the box and quickly found Julian Gressel on the right side. The German took a touch to his left and ripped a shot that took a slight deflection before bouncing into the goal.
Atlanta nearly added a third goal when Gonzalo Martinez had a free kick hit the crossbar in the 77th minute, and again when Dion Pereira appeared to score his first MLS goal in the 87th, but Josef Martinez was ruled offside earlier in the play.
Atlanta United (4-3-2, 14 points) returns to action Sunday, May 12 against Orlando City SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (2:30 p.m. EST, FOX, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).
Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 0
Shots: 19-8 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 5-0 Atlanta
Corner kicks: 7-4 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 11-10 Toronto
Clearances: 19-12 Toronto
Offside: 4-2 Offside
Possession: 54-46 Toronto
Passing Accuracy: 89-88 Toronto
ATL - Hector Villalba 17' (Josef Martinez)
ATL - Julian Gressel 67' (Josef Martinez)
TOR - Richie Laryea 21' (yellow)
ATL - Franco Escobar 56' (yellow)
TOR - Eriq Zavaleta 74' (yellow)
TOR - Michael Bradley 76' (yellow)
TOR - Terrence Boyd 77' (yellow)
TOR - Jonathan Osoria 82' (yellow)
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan ©; Leandro González Pirez, Franco Escobar, Miles Robinson, Brek Shea (Michael Parkhurst - 70'); Darlington Nagbe, Eric Remedi; Hector Villalba (Dion Pereira - 86'), Gonzalo Martinez, Julian Gressel (Jeff Larentowicz - 86'); Josef Martinez.
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Florentin Pogba, Jon Gallagher, Romario Williams.
TORONTO FC STARTING LINEUP
Alex Bono; Ashtone Morgan (Justin Morrow - 51'), Laurent Ciman, Eriq Zavaleta, Richie Laryea; Michael Bradley ©, Jay Chapman; Nick DeLeon (Jonathan Osorio - 53'), Liam Fraser, Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Terrence Boyd - 61').
Substitutes not used: Auro, Chris Mavinga, Quentin Westberg, Marco Delgado.
Christopher Penso (referee), Jeffrey Greeson (assistant), Chris Elliott (assistant), Fotis Bazakos (fourth), Jose Carlos Rivero (VAR), Jozef Batko (assistant VAR)
Tito Villalba scored his first goal of the season
Julian Gressel scored his second goal of the season
Josef Martinez registered his first two assists of the year. It was also his first multi-assist match of his MLS career.
Brad Guzan wore the captain's armband for the second time with Atlanta United (at Columbus March 30, 2019).
The team shutout its opponent in its third consecutive match as Guzan recorded his fourth clean sheet of the season.
Jeff Larentowicz appeared in his 399th career game, good for third place all-time in league history among field players. He is one appearance away from becoming the third field player to reach 400 in MLS history.
• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...
Major League Soccer Stories from May 8, 2019
- Chicago Fire Soccer Club Records 5-0 Win over New England Revolution - Chicago Fire FC
- Red Bulls Falter Late, Lose to Montreal, 2-1 - New York Red Bulls
- Atlanta United Defeats Toronto FC 2-0 - Atlanta United FC
- LA Galaxy Postgame Notes: LA Galaxy 1, Columbus Crew SC 3 - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - LA Galaxy
- Revolution Drop Away Match at Chicago Fire, 5-0 - New England Revolution
- Sporting KC Acquires Benny Feilhaber in Trade with Colorado - Sporting Kansas City
- Colorado Rapids Acquire Defender Abdul Rwatubyaye, 2019 International Spot - Colorado Rapids
- Chicago Fire Soccer Club Signs Midfielder Brandt Bronico to New Contract - Chicago Fire FC
- LA Galaxy Partner with Copia to Manage Food Waste at Dignity Health Sports Park - LA Galaxy
- FOX Sports to Broadcast "Final Whistle on Hate" Match Between New England Revolution and Chelsea FC - New England Revolution
- Philadelphia Union Sign Forward Michee Ngalina - Philadelphia Union
- New FC Cincinnati Bench Boss to be Youngest in Charge in MLS History: Week 11 MLS News & Notes - MLS
- Columbus Crew SC Acquires Targeted Allocation Money from the Colorado Rapids - Columbus Crew SC
- Colorado Rapids Acquire Centerback Lalas Abubakar from Columbus Crew SC on a One-Year Loan - Colorado Rapids
- New York City FC Trades Jonathan Lewis to the Colorado Rapids - New York City FC
- Colorado Rapids Acquire USMNT Forward Jonathan Lewis from New York City FC - Colorado Rapids
- By the Numbers: Miles on the Road - Orlando City SC
- Dynamo Match at FC Dallas Rescheduled to August 25 for FS1 Broadcast - Houston Dynamo FC
- Philadelphia Union Receive $500,000 in Allocation Money, International Roster Spot from Columbus Crew SC - Philadelphia Union
- Columbus Crew SC Acquires David Accam in Trade with the Philadelphia Union - Columbus Crew SC
- Texas Derby Finale vs. Houston Dynamo Rescheduled to August 25 for FS1 Broadcast - FC Dallas
- New York Red Bulls Sign Forward Tom Barlow to MLS Contract - New York Red Bulls
- Match Preview: Columbus Crew SC Hosts the La Galaxy at MAPFRE Stadium Tonight - Columbus Crew SC
- Sounders FC Completes Deadline Day Haul by Adding Xavier Arreaga and Joevin Jones to Roster - Seattle Sounders FC
- OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup - OSC Original by David Carlson
- OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup - OSC Original by David Carlson
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Atlanta United FC Stories
- George Bello and Brooks Lennon Called up to United States Men's National Team for December Friendly
- Miles Robinson Named to 2021 MLS Best XI
- Atlanta United Announces Year-End Roster Moves
- Santiago Sosa Undergoes Successful Sports Hernia Surgery
- Atlanta United Falls 2-0 at New York City FC in Round One of Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs