Atlanta United Falls 2-1 to Toronto FC in Eastern Conference Final
ATLANTA - Atlanta United fell 2-1 to Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference Final Wednesday night in front of 44,055 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Julian Gressel scored his second goal of the playoffs, but Toronto responded with a pair of goals to end Atlanta's run in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Atlanta opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Ezequiel Barco sent a through ball to Pity Martinez who was in on goal one-on-one with goalkeeper Quentin Westberg. Martinez drew Westberg off his line before passing across the box to Julian Gressel for an easy tap-in.
Atlanta had an opportunity to double its lead in the eighth minute when it was awarded a penalty. Jeff Larentowicz played a long ball for Pity Martinez behind Toronto's backline. Dribbling towards goal, the Argentine was taken down in the box from behind by Michael Bradley. Josef Martinez stepped to the spot in the 11th minute, but his attempt to the bottom left corner was saved by Westberg.
Toronto equalized shortly thereafter in the 14th minute. Laurent Ciman sent a long ball down the left side where it was gathered by Nicolas Benezet just outside of the box. Benezet dribbled toward the box before sending a curling shot into bottom right corner.
After halftime, Josef Martinez again nearly scored in the 58th minute. Barco backheeled a pass to Franco Escobar on right side and quickly sprang Martinez into box with a through ball. The Venezuelan dribbled down the right side of the box before ripping a shot into the side netting.
Toronto took the lead in the 78th minute with the eventual game-winning goal from Nick DeLeon. The midfielder took a shot from just outside of the 18-yard box that found the upper left corner.
Atlanta had chances late, most notably from Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who put a shot on goal in the 92nd minute that was pushed away for a corner. On the ensuing set piece, Gonzalez Pirez headed an attempt just wide of the right post.
Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs | Eastern Conference Final
Toronto FC 2, Atlanta United 1
Shots: 19-4 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 5-4 Atlanta
Corner kicks: 4-1 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 16-9 Toronto
Clearances: 20-5 Toronto
Offside: 3-1 Atlanta
Possession: 59-41 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 86-78 Atlanta
ATL- Julian Gressel (Pity Martinez, Ezequiel Barco) 4' [HIGHLIGHT]
TOR - Nicolas Benezet (Laurent Ciman) 14' [HIGHLIGHT]
TOR - Nick DeLeon (Alejandro Pozuelo) 78' [HIGHLIGHT]
TOR - Michael Bradley (yellow) 9'
TOR - Jonathan Osorio (yellow) 61'
TOR - Nick DeLeon (yellow) 70'
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan; Florentin Pogba, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst © (Tito Villalba - 81'), Franco Escobar; Ezequiel Barco, Jeff Larentowicz, Darlington Nagbe, Julian Gressel; Pity Martinez, Josef Martinez.
Substitutes not used: Justin Meram, Alec Kann, Eric Remedi, Mikey Ambrose, Emerson Hyndman, Mo Adams.
TORONTO FC STARTING LINEUP
Quentin Westberg; Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow, Laurent Ciman, Auro (Patrick Mullins - 68'); Michael Bradley ©, Marco Delgado, Jonathan Osorio; Tsubasa Endoh (Richie Laryea - 45'), Nicolas Benezet (Nick DeLeon - 54'), Alejandro Pozuelo.
Substitutes not used: Drew Moor, Erickson Gallardo, Alex Bono, Omar GonzÃ¡lez.
Alan Kelly (referee), Ian Anderson (assistant), Nick Uranga (assistant), Nima Saghafi (fourth), Jon Freemon (VAR), Robert Schaap (Assistant VAR).
It was the first time in nine career postseason matches that Atlanta allowed multiple goals in a single game.
Atlanta had allowed just two goals in its previous eight postseason matches; one at home against NYCFC (Nov. 11, 2018) and one at New York Red Bulls (Nov. 29, 2018).
Julian Gressel scored his second career postseason goal. It was also the second of his 2019 postseason.
Ezequiel Barco picked up his second career postseason assist. He also had one against New England.
Jeff Larentowicz appeared in his 30th career postseason match, moving into a tie for 18th place all-time in MLS history among field players.
Michael Parkhurst started his 28th career postseason match, moving into a tie for 21st place all-time in MLS history among field players.
• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...
Major League Soccer Stories from October 31, 2019
- Real Salt Lake FW Corey Baird Named to USMNT Pre-Camp Roster Ahead of CONCACAF Nations League Group Finale - Real Salt Lake
- Defender Daniel Lovitz Called up by the United States for Preparation Camp - Montreal Impact
- Djordje Mihailovic Named to U.S. Men's National Team Pre-Camp Roster Ahead of November Matches - Chicago Fire
- LA Galaxy Midfielder Sebastian Lletget Named to USMNT Pre-Camp Roster - LA Galaxy
- Jeremy Ebobisse Named to U.S. Men's National Team Pre-Camp Roster - Portland Timbers
- Revolution Goalkeeper Matt Turner Called in to U.S. Men's National Team Pre-Camp - New England Revolution
- Columbus Crew SC's Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes Receive International Call-Ups - Columbus Crew SC
- Reggie Cannon Called into National Team Duty - FC Dallas
- MNUFC Defender Chase Gasper Called up to US National Team - Minnesota United FC
- Paul Arriola Called into USMNT Pre-Camp from November 2-9 in Bradenton, Fla., Ahead of CONCACAF Nations League Group Finale - D.C. United
- Johnny Nelson, Paxton Pomykal Undergo Successful Surgery - FC Dallas
- Orji Okwonwko Called up by Nigeria U23 National Team - Montreal Impact
- Earthquakes Sign Calvillo, Fuentes to New Contracts - San Jose Earthquakes
- Philadelphia Union Announce Roster Status for 2020 Season - Philadelphia Union
- Chicago Fire to Offer Fans An Exclusive Seat Preview and Locker Room Sale at Soldier Field on Saturday - Chicago Fire
- OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup - OSC Original by David Carlson
- OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup - OSC Original by David Carlson
- Atlanta United Falls 2-1 to Toronto FC in Eastern Conference Final - Atlanta United FC
- Toronto FC to Face Seattle In2019 MLS Cup at CenturyLink Field - MLS
- Sounders FC to Host Toronto FC in MLS Cup Final on November 10 at CenturyLink Field - Seattle Sounders FC
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
- Atlanta United Partners with America's VetDogs to Raise Future Service Dog Ã¢ÂÂSpike'
- Atlanta United Signs Jake Mulraney from Heart of Midlothian F.C.
- Atlanta United Acquires Adam Jahn from Phoenix Rising
- Atlanta United Acquires up to $1.1 Million in Allocation Money from D.C. United
- Three Atlanta United Academy Players to Train at Aberdeen FC