Atlanta United Football Club defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 Saturday night in front of another packed house at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Josef Martínez scored the lone goal in the 67th minute ensuring the seventh victory of the 2017 campaign for Atlanta United and fourth straight win at home.
There were two points of breaking news during the pre-match buildup: defender Anton Walkes got the start in place of Tyrone Mears at right back and Martínez got the start as the lone striker for the first time in three months.
Walkes was able to provide some stability in the back while pushing up to the halfway line supplementing Atlanta’s attacking periods. Meanwhile, Martínez was able to create runs, terrorize Colorado’s defense and occupy multiple defenders.
In the first half, the Rapids sat their defenders deep and prevented Atlanta’s renowned attackers Yamil Asad, Miguel Almiron, Hector “Tito” Villalba and the aforementioned Martínez from making advanced runs at goalkeeper Tim Howard.
However, in the second half, Atlanta had the majority of possession. Most of the 2nd stanza was played in Colorado’s side of the pitch. Coupled with precise passes and incisive runs, Atlanta was able to exert its will on the Rapids’ defense and it paid off with Martínez’s goal.
The addition of Brandon Vasquez at the right wing sparked the Atlanta attack. Vasquez got on the end of a nice through ball just on the byline, cut back inside and fed Martínez just inside the penalty spot. Josef was calm, cool and collected in the box, taking two touches to beat his defender and beat Howard.
Tonight’s win is the fourth straight home win for Atlanta United, in front of a seventh consecutive sold-out crowd of 44,938 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The 5 Stripes will travel to South Florida to face the North American Soccer League (NASL) side Miami FC in the US Open Cup Wednesday before traveling to Columbus to face the Crew next Saturday night.
Atlanta United’s next home match is July 4th against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff from Bobby Dodd Stadium is 7:00pm.