Even without Miguel Almiron, Atlanta United kept on rolling, and they sealed a playoff spot in the process.
Josef Martinez fired yet another goal while Julian Gressel joined him on the scoresheet as Atlanta United cruised past the Philadelphia Union, 3-0, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The win extends Atlanta’s unbeaten run to six, with five of those six being wins.
Gressel opened the scoring in the 27th minute, firing his fourth goal of the season. On a ball in from Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Gressel dodged a defender before poking a shot past Andre Blake and just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
The German-born rookie played provider on the second, feeding Martinez for the Venezuelan’s 18th goal from 17 appearances. As Kevin Kratz dummied the pass, Martinez took off with the ball before also slotting to the backpost for the two-goal advantage.
While a Hector Villalba finish was disallowed, Atlanta did find their third late as Jacob Peterson tacked on another goal in the 88th minute to finalize yet another big win.
It would have been more if not for Blake, who stuffed Martinez several times early. In total, the Jamaican made seven stops, managing the scoreline in a match the Union were never truly in.
Next up for Atlanta United is Saturday’s visit to the New England Revolution. It doesn’t get easier for the Union, meanwhile, as they welcome the Seattle Sounders to town on Saturday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
With Miguel Almiron out, Julian Gressel stepped in to that playmaker role, and he shined by scoring one goal while assisting another.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Josef Martinez’s goal sealed the game and a playoff berth for the first-year club.
MATCH TO FORGET
Warren Creavalle struggled in a big way early as Atlanta United dominated the middle of the field.