Seventy-seven games. That’s how many matches it took for Atlanta United to reach the summit of Major League Soccer. In just two years under the guidance of Tata Martino, the young franchise took home the most prized domestic competition. Atlanta won MLS Cup 2018 with a convincing performance, especially defensively, and sent Martino out on a high note with a 2-0 victory. Josef Martinez scored in the first half, and Franco Escobar doubled the lead in the second half as the hottest team in MLS sizzled its way toward its first major trophy.
Josef Martinez was instrumental and became the third player in MLS Cup history to score a goal and record an assist in the season finale. The 25-year-old opened the scoring for the hosts six minutes before halftime, rounding Timbers keeper Jeff Attinella to score into an empty net after Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst pressured Jeremy Ebobisse into a mistake in his own defensive third.
JOSEF MARTINEZ GIVES ATLANTA THE LEAD!!! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/2d2IwS9yps
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 9, 2018
United’s second arrived in the 54th minute, with right-back Franco Escobar turning in a Martinez flick-on from Miguel Almiron’s delightfully placed free kick.
The Timbers made three attacking-minded subs and pressed forward as they chased the game, but Guzan and his defense held firm and the Atlanta bench rushed the pitch at Kelly’s final whistle to celebrate a memorable triumph.
- 39′ – ATL – Josef Martinez Watch
- 54′ – ATL – Franco Escobar Watch