July 8, 2018 / 1:15 AM / 4 months ago

East-leading Atlanta United blanks Philadelphia

Josef Martinez scored on a penalty kick for his MLS-best 18th goal and added an assist for Atlanta United in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa.

Martinez made it 1-0 in the 58th minute and Hector Villalba scored in the 76th for Atlanta (12-4-4, 40 points) as the Eastern Conference leaders moved to 4-1-3 in the past eight games.

Brad Guzan made three saves in blanking the Union (6-9-3, 21 points), who have lost three of four. He has six shutouts.

Atlanta got the breakthrough when Union goalkeeper Andre Blake fouled Miguel Almiron in the box for the penalty. A through ball by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez put Almiron free down the left side. Blake came out for the challenge and tripped the Paraguayan midfielder at the top of the box.

Martinez, who scored two of his three goals via penalty kicks vs. the Union on June 2, easily beat Blake from the spot for the 1-0 lead. He is one score away from matching his total from last season.

Blake made a near-post save on Martinez two minutes later to deny him consecutive two-goal games.

Atlanta’s goal came three minutes after a Philadelphia combination play resulted in Borek Dockal missing an open shot from 10 yards by firing over the crossbar.

Atlanta was coming off a 3-2 loss at FC Dallas on Wednesday after allowing two goals in the final seven minutes. United ensure that wouldn’t happen with a well-crafted goal for the 2-0 lead. The play included a give-and-go between Martinez and Almiron and ended with Almiron’s cross to Villalba for his third goal.

Philadelphia plays the Fire in Chicago on Wednesday. Atlanta, 6-2-2 on the road, returns home to host the Seattle Sounders on July 15.

—Field Level Media

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