Atlanta, now with three straight wins and clean sheets, continues to surge under head coach Frank de Boer, and it was Josef Martinez who stole the show. However, it wasn’t for his goalscoring exploits.
In the 17th minute, he collected a rebound off a Pity Martinez free kick and smashed it across goal. Hector Villalba bundled home the cross inside the six-yard box for his first of the year to make it 1-0.
Come the 67th minute, Josef then collected a squared pass atop the 18-yard box, only to slip it wide to Julian Gressel. The right winger took a touch inside and made no mistake in smashing his strike past Alex Bono. A Justin Morrow deflection helped double the lead to 2-0.
Toronto failed to register a single shot on target, though generated some promising chances early on. The club is still playing without star striker Jozy Altidore.
- THE BIG PICTURE: For the first time in club history, the Five Stripes have beaten Toronto FC, and this one had some extra special meaning. Atlanta last faced the Reds in their regular-season finale of 2018 and promptly lost 4-1, missing out on a possible Supporters’ Shield title. Meanwhile, Toronto made seven changes from a squad that won, 2-0, at Orlando City SC last weekend. Greg Vanney's decision surely was motivated by having five matches over 15 days.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: While Atlanta took all three points, this game could have easily had another tone if Ayo Akinola made good on a breakaway in the 5th minute. However, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez had another ideas in mind, making up 10 yards on the U.S. U-20 striker to make a last-ditch slide tackle. If LGP is off the mark, maybe TFC gets a 1-0 lead early and tries to preserve the result.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Josef Martinez, after setting the all-time single-season scoring record with 31 goals last year, is understandably known for putting the ball in the net. The Venezuelan striker can add provider to his CV, too. Martinez set up both of Atlanta’s goals, showing how his game is continuing to evolve under head coach Frank de Boer. He now has 10 career assists in MLS.