Two years in, Atlanta United are MLS Cup champions after a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers in front of a record-breaking 73,019 fans at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Saturday night.
The Five Stripes are the second team to join the league after the Philadelphia Union and win the league’s top prize. The Timbers won an MLS Cup in 2015, four years after joining the league as an expansion team.
West Chester, Pa. native Jeff Larentowicz, who started and played all 90 minutes in Atlanta’s back three, won his second career MLS Cup. Lancaster native Zarek Valentin started on the back line for the Timbers and played all 90 minutes in his first MLS Cup final. Sort of former Philadelphia Union midfielder Kevin Kratz dressed for the game but did not play.
Josef Martínez opened the scoring for Atlanta in the 39th minute when Michael Parkhurst was able to dispossess Jeremy Ebobisse with a sliding challenge and get the ball to Martínez all alone in front of goal. The goal was the 35th of the season for the league MVP.
Franco Escobar added an insurance goal in the 54th minute when he was able to get free at the far post and hammer home a Martínez flick off a set piece.
For more on the game, check out our friends at Dirty South Soccer and Stumptown Footy.