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.
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