Day: March 19, 2017

Atlanta United dominates in 4-0 home shutout of Chicago Fire

Josef Martinez - Atlanta United
Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez dribbles ball during contest against Chicago Fire earlier this season.
Photo credit: Atlanta United

Release from Atlanta United:

Atlanta United defeated Chicago Fire, 4-0, on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd of 45,922 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Atlanta again picked up an early goal courtesy of Chicago’s Brandon Vincent who inadvertently re-directed Julian Gressel’s attempt into the back of the net in the fourth minute. In the second half, Josef Martinez scored two goals to add to his league-leading tally of five, while Tito Villalba added his first-career goal for Atlanta United.

“For the stretch in the second half we played really well,” head coach Tata Martino said. “We didn’t put the score at risk and we were able to manage the game better today than we were in the past. We had a good performance.”

Atlanta’s dominant day in possession started right from the opening kick. In the fourth minute, Villalba perfectly threaded a pass through the middle of the box to Gressel, who’s attempt deflected off Vincent and into the back of the net. Then in the 11th minute, Johan Kappelhoff took down Martinez, who was streaking in behind all-alone. Kappelhoff was red-carded on the play. Atlanta took control from there, leading 1-0 at halftime and securing an 83-17 advantage in possession at the break.

Up a man, Atlanta’s clinical passing attack took over in the second half. Completing a league-high 92.5 percent of its passes, Atlanta finally broke through in the 60th minute with Martinez, the reigning MLS Player of the Week, taking a pass from Miguel Almiron, who perfectly threaded a 20-yard pass to play Martinez through.

Villalba added his first Atlanta goal just seven minutes later. Left back Greg Garza’s attempted cross in the box was deflected inside of the penalty area. Villalba pounced on the loose ball and buried one into the right corner with his left foot.

Finally, it was Martinez finishing off a brace in fine fashion in the 82nd minute. After getting played in by Yamil Asad, Martinez dribbled around a fast-charging Jorge Bava, and niftily passed one into an open net, despite doing so from a difficult angle near the end line.

“The support has been just amazing we’re very fortunate that we’ve got this atmosphere to play in front of, we don’t want to take it for granted,” Parkhurst said. “We want to make this a real fortress and a place where teams dread to come to play.”

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Four Atlanta United players receive international call-ups for 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying #atlutd

atlanta united

Release from the Atlanta United:

Atlanta United announced today that four players have received international call-ups for the upcoming FIFA window. Miguel Almirón, Carlos Carmona, Kenwyne Jones and Josef Martinez have each been called-up to the represent their respective countries for important 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches from March 23-28. Each player will leave after Atlanta’s March 18 match against Chicago Fire and will return to first team duties prior to the club’s trip to Seattle for a match against the Sounders on March 31.

Almirón, 23, will join Paraguay for CONMBEOL qualifiers against Ecuador on March 23 and Brazil on March 28. He has seven career appearances for Paraguay, debuting with La Albirroja on Sept. 5, 2015 in a friendly versus Chile, and has more recently made six combined appearances in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying and the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Paraguay (4-3-5, 15 points) currently sits in 7th place in CONMEBOL.

Carmona will also head to South America for qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He’ll represent Chile in matches against Argentina on March 23 and Venezuela on March 28. The 30-year-old midfielder has 47 career international caps and was part of La Roja’s squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Chile (6-2-4, 20 points) currently sits in 4th place in the 10-team table.

Jones, a 32-year-old forward and captain for Trinidad and Tobago, will rejoin his national side for qualifiers on March 23 against Panama and March 28 against Mexico. The veteran has scored 23 goals in 76 appearances for his country. Trinidad and Tobago has a pair of vital matches after going winless in their first two matches during the current round of CONCACAF qualifying.

Martinez, 23, will join Venezuela for qualifiers on March 23 against Peru and March 28 against Chile, featuring current Atlanta teammate Carmona. The striker has nine goals in 37 career appearances for La Vinotinto, including a hat-trick in Venezuela’s 5-0 win versus Bolivia in November in World Cup Qualifying. Although Venezuela currently sits in 10th place in qualifying, Martinez is the fourth leading-scorer in CONMEBOL with five goals.