Atlanta United secured its berth in next year's Concacaf Champions League on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire in another match played before a packed house at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
ATL UTD took the early lead when Franco Escobar curled in a left-footed shot from inside the box for his first goal of the year. Chicago's Michael de Leeuw answered from close distance 15 minutes later, but Atlanta re-claimed the lead for good after the restart when defender Chris McCann's cross from the left was accidentally deflected in by Chicago defender Johan Kappelhof for an own goal.
The win puts Atlanta in line to accomplish two MLS records on Decision Day, and keeps them in position to claim the Supporters' Shield. Both Atlanta and the New York Red Bulls won their 21st league game of the year on Sunday, surpassing the MLS single-season mark set by Seattle in 2014 and tied by Toronto last year. Atlanta has now reached 69 points, which equals the record Toronto set in 2017, and enters the final game one point ahead of the Red Bulls.
Atlanta clinched a spot in the Concacaf Champions League based on having the best aggregate record over the past two seasons.
- 9' – ATL – Franco Escobar | WATCH
- 24' – CHI – Michael de Leeuw | WATCH
- 26' – ATL – Johan Kappelhof (OG) | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: It wasn't the dominant performance we've come to expect from Atlanta, but a win is a win, especially when accomplished without the injured Miguel Almiron. That said, Josef Martinez has now gone scoreless in seven of his last eight games. Chicago put up a good fight in defeat.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Good teams sometimes need a little luck, while luck often times seems to go against struggling sides. The game-winner, scored a minute after Chicago got right back in the game:
That scoreline didn't last long 😏— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 21, 2018
We're back on top just minutes later! https://t.co/ocFlODn6PR
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The nod goes to Franco Escobar, for scoring his first goal of the year.