Atlanta United Upends Philadelphia 2-0
Gressel Scores Winning Goal
Guzan Records Another Clean Sheet
Atlanta, GA – Atlanta United advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with a convincing 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night. United will face Toronto FC, who upset the #1 see New York FC.
Atlanta struck early. Julian Gressel scored the winning goal in the 10th minute with a goal that hit off the top of the goal post and went down to the back of the net. Pity Martinez was credited with the assist on a brilliant pass to set up Gressel in space.
The lead remained 1-0 until the 80th minute. Gressel sent a long pass downfield towards Josef Martinez. The ball bounced past the defender, Martinez was able to gain control, and then he drilled a bullet top shelf past the defenseless goalkeeper. It was Martinez’s team leading 28th goal of the season.
It was another impressive performance from the defense. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan recorded three saves in earning his 16th shutout of the season. Two key defenders, Miles Robinson and Michael Parkhurst, both were out due to injury. However, the backline of the defense performed admirably, as it consistently thwarted Philadelphia’s attack.
United also had to adjust to a new a formation, as it shifted to four on the defensive backline. The lineup had never played a match before. Mikey Ambrose was playing in only his fifth match of the year for the senior club, although he has played extensively with Atlanta United II.
Atlanta will host the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The winner of the match will advance to the MLS Cup Final on November 11th.
Notes…Pity Martinez earned Man of the Match honors. It was his first start and appearance of this post season…Gressel’s assist was his team leading 13th of the year…attendance was 41,507.