Pity Martinez surprised - Atlanta United

It has been an up-and-down first season in Atlanta for Pity Martinez. That theme continued into the postseason.

The 2018 South American Footballer of the Year and most expensive acquisition in MLS history had five goals and nine assists in his first season with the Five Stripes and traded barbs with head coach Frank de Boer earlier this season. More recently, he was dropped from De Boer's starting XI on Decision Day presented by AT&T and did not appear off the bench.

On Saturday, in Atlanta's 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, Martinez did not get off the bench again. De Boer opted for Ezequiel Barco in the starting lineup after the 20-year-old started and played 63 minutes on Decision Day. It was Barco's 11th start of the season. 

"I always put the team in what — in my point of view and in good conversation with my staff — which team can have the most chance to win,” said De Boer earlier this week. “If it's with both [Barco and Pity] then it's with both. If it's with one of them, it's with one of them. I will choose what I think is the best chance that we can win the game. It doesn't always mean you put your best players on the pitch, but in my point of view, you put your best team on the pitch.”

Joining Pity on the bench was Eric Remedi, who was on the bench for the third straight match. On the backline, Michael Parkhurst replaced Miles Robinson, who suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with the US men's national team. Parkhurst would leave the match in stoppage time due to a shoulder injury.

On the other side, Scott Caldwell replaced Luis Caicedo in central midfield for the Revolution. Caicedo started 22 of the Revs' last 24 matches while Caldwell has played 90 minutes just once since May 4.

October 19, 2019