The unstoppable Josef Martinez led his Atlanta United to MLS Cup Trophy in their second year of existence. They defeated Portland Timbers in the finals of this competition with 2-0.
In front of 73,000 fans, which is a record attendance for one MLS Cup finals, United was confident enough, and they managed to secure a routine win against 2015 champions.
Like throughout the whole season, Martinez had been fantastic last night. First, he used a mistake of Portland’s players in the 39th minute, taking the ball from the last defender and rounding a keeper.
MVP! MVP! MVP!
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 9, 2018
Nine minutes into the second half Martinez assisted Franco Escobar for a 2-0 lead.
With a goal and an assist, he became only the third player in the history of the MLS Cup with such productivity. He proved that the MLS MVP award went to the right address.
The Timbers had a couple of not so dangerous chances. The best one for them was immediately after they conceded the opening goal. Brad Guzan’s intervention denied Ebobisse’s excellent header. All other opportunities they provided were not problematic for the new champions and their back line.
For the city of Atlanta, this has been a moment waited for 23 years. Back in 1995, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series, and ever since the sports teams from the capital of Georgia struggled to provide some notable results.
— MercedesBenzStadium (@MBStadium) December 9, 2018
That is why a parade is set for the whole city to celebrate. United has the biggest support of all MLS teams, and an average of more than 50,000 spectators at each game. Outside NFL, they are the only US-based professional franchise with such attendance, and when looking only soccer, one of the few in the whole world.
The new MLS Cup champions now have to face other challenges. The international competitions, strengthening the roster, and what is the most important finding a decent replacement for Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
The Argentinian will take over the Mexican national team as the new coach. Arthur Blank has to react fast, and bring in the person who is going to improve the existing condition of this team and make some notable results on the international stage.