The Philadelphia Union had momentum on their side facing an Atlanta United FC side withouth arguably their best player in Miguel Almirón. It didn’t matter. The buzzsaw that is the Five Stripes effectively killed the Union’s miniscule playoff hopes in convincing fashion, winning 3-0 in front of another massive crowd.
Atlanta had much of the momentum early on, playing long crosses from the full backs out to the wings. Atlanta’s first good chance came off of a Fabinho turnover. Jack Elliott was one on one with Josef Martínez in the box, and did well until Blake was able to come out and get a piece of the shot.
7' | CLOSE!!@JosefMartinez17 nearly opens the scoring in Atlanta#ATLUTD 0-0 @PhilaUnion pic.twitter.com/efrxll63qB— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 27, 2017
Atlanta pressed early and often, forcing the Union to be inch-perfect in their passing. To their credit the Union were able to read a lot of the Atlanta passes and intercept them, but Atlanta was able to maintain possession and pressure to keep the ball in the Union’s end.. Andre Blake was predictably fantastic, turning a rocket from Yamil Asad over the bar in the 13th minute.
Fly like Dre#DOOP https://t.co/ytRaZwOSdY— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) September 27, 2017
In the 21st minute, Héctor Villalba hit a knuckleball from distance that Blake had to make another fantastic save on.
Had it all the way#DOOP pic.twitter.com/RR9VsUd4NQ— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) September 27, 2017
Blake couldn’t stop them all though. In the 27th minute, Oguchi Onyewu pushed forward to try and intercept the pass, and Julian Gressel split the remaining defenders and slotted an easy ball past Andre Blake to make it 1-0.
Stepping into his starting role @JulianGressel gives Atlanta the advantage with a clever finish! pic.twitter.com/qmTNosR29z— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 27, 2017
Not content with just one, Josef Martínez would double the lead just six minutes later when he slipped past Jack Elliott and uncorked a tight angle shot.
He just can't be stopped— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 27, 2017
18 goals on the year for @JosefMartinez17 pic.twitter.com/XPXF7E4hT4
In the 40th minute, Gressel hit a laser from about 20 yards out but Blake saw it all the way and pushed it over the bar. Luckily the Union would escape the first half just down two. To put it in perspective, the Union had one shot the entire first half.
At the start of the second half, Warren Creavalle played a nice ball into CJ Sapong, who got a bit of a touch onto the ball directing it on to Brad Guzan. In the 51st minute, Sapong turned and put hte ball forward for Fafa Picault, whose shot was stopped by Guzan.
51' | CJ finds Fafa for a good look at the net but Guzan is there#DOOP pic.twitter.com/vmCfcWfsuI— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) September 28, 2017
Philadelphia had a great oppotrunity when Pirez made a rare mistake, and Sapong picked up the ball, drawing the defense to him. He took a couple steps toward goal and dropped it back to Picault, who shot it well high.
Atlanta would put one past Andre Blake in the 54th minute, but Josef Martínez was (correctly) judged to be offside. They would continually exploit their right flank, with Fabinho routinely pushing up high into the attack leaving no one back to defend.
Jack Elliott almost gave away another goal with a bad pass toward Oguchi Onyewu, however Blake was there to make a close range save on Martínez. In the 66th minute, Haris Medunjanin wound up from the top of the box but his shot rang off of the crossbar.
67' | Haris lines it up from outside the box but it's off the crossbar#DOOP https://t.co/0HsDvGrDS2— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) September 28, 2017
Warren Creavalle was subbed out in the 70th minute after seemingly picking up an injury. Keegan Rosenberry would be subbed off in the 78th minute after rolling his ankle. The Union would have a couple of plays toward goal, but Brad Guzan was able to grab everything sent his way.
In the 89th minute, Kenwyne Jones sprung Jacob Peterson. Peterson drew Andre Blake out, and he drove past him and put the final nail into the Union’s playoff hopes.
The ball. The finish.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 28, 2017
So good, @ATLUTD. #ATLvPHI https://t.co/qE6PvNejGu
The Union will need to put this one behind them quickly, as they host the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. Atlanta on the other hand will head up to Foxborough to face the New England Revolution.
Atlanta United: Brad Guzan; Chris McCann, Leandro González Pirez, Jeff Larentowicz, Anton Walkes; Kevin Kratz, Carlos Carmona; Yamil Asad (Greg Garza, 68’), Julian Gressel (Jacob Peterson, 87’), Héctor Villalba; Josef Martínez (Kenwyne Jones, 82’)
Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake; Fabinho, Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry (Ray Gaddis, 79’); Warren Creavalle (Roland Alberg, 70’); Haris Medunjanin, Fafa Picault, Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius (Marcus Epps, 70’); CJ Sapong
Scoring: Atlanta United - Julian Gressel (27’), Josef Martínez (33’); Philadelphia Union - None
Disciplinary: Atlanta United - Josef Martínez (Yellow - 67’); Philadelphia Union - None