BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©XTREMFOOTBALL
Atlanta United has completed the incredible two-year odyssey from expansion start-up to Major League Soccer champions. With a 2-0 win over the Portand Timbers in the MLS Cup before a record crowd of 73.019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta United won its first league championship in just its second season in existence.
Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar provided the goals, Martinez’s coming in the first half at 39 minutes with Escobar seemingly sealing the championship with a second at the 54-minute mark.
Atlanta United’s title is also the first for the snakebitten sports city since the Atlanta Braves won the 1995 World Series. The Braves’ World Series win had been Atlanta’s only major professional sports championship until Atlanta United’s triumph.
During the whole season, Atlanta supporters were consistently amazing in breaking the league’s average attendance record (53.002) they set last year, and then breaking the league’s single-game attendance (73.019) record in the Cup. In the final national journalists covering the game felt astounded and wrote that the environment is what MLS can one day be in more places.
Piti Martínez is here
But the best part of the story comes now! Atlanta United is gonna add a huge play maker to fight again for the MLS championship next season. Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martinez said on Sunday that he is joining Atlanta United for the 2019 season.
The 25-year-old River Plate midfielder scored a trophy-clinching goal in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final on Sunday afternoon – his side defeated Boca Juniors 3-1 in Madrid – then promptly announced in an on-field interview after the game that he would leave his current club at the end of the year.
Martinez scored three goals in River Plate’s run to the Copa Libertadores title. He has scored 22 league goals and 14 assists since joining the Argentinian giants in January 2015.