Ezequiel Barco scored before halftime and then helped set up Emerson Hyndman after the break as Atlanta United rebounded from the news of Josef Martinez's potential season-ending injury last weekend with a 2-1 victory over FC Cincinnati in Week 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Pity Martinez picked up a pair of assists before exiting in the 67th minute perhaps with an eye toward Wednesday's Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Club America at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico. Matheus Rossetto came on for Martinez to make his MLS debut after work visa issues had made the Brazilian ineligible for Atlanta's opener.
Yuya Kubo opened his MLS account with a side-winding consolation effort that wrong-footed goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and despite a strong push for an equalizer, Cincy remain in search of their first points of 2020. Meanwhile, Atlanta keep up their perfect league record after winning their first two matches.
Watch: Doyle & Gass on Atlanta sans Josef
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- THE BIG PICTURE: Barco and Hyndman have now scored, in that order, in consecutive 2-1 league wins for Atlanta, but they'll need others to chip in soon as they'll play the second of five matches in 15 days when they make the trip to Mexico City. Rossetto's availability and Pity Martinez's late breather should help head coach Frank de Boer manage some of that workload going forward. But this is where Martinez's absence really hurts. Can Adam Jahn be expected to grind out this whole stretch as the solo striker? De Boer might have to get creative.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Martinez's run to get around the corner and find Barco just a couple yards out from goal was a thing of beauty. It came only a few minutes after another brilliant connection between the pair that was snuffed out by Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
- MAN OF THE MATCH:Ezequiel Barco. Martinez had the honor when he departed midway through the second half. But ultimately Barco edged it because of his crucial late work as a release valve when Cincy were pressing for an equalizer.
- ATL: Wednesday, March 11 at Club America, Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals (10:30 pm ET | FS2, TUDN)
- CIN: Saturday, March 14 vs. D.C. United (5:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and on DAZN in Canada)