ATLANTA — Two goals late in the match pushed Atlanta United past San Jose Earthquakes for a 3-1 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Despite securing at least one home playoff game with the win, the focus after the match became the health of forward Josef Martinez, who suffered an injury in his right leg at the 80th minute.
Josef suffered the injury after landing awkwardly on his right leg after a collision. Josef came back into the match for just a couple of minutes but then took himself out, and sat on the sidelines until a medical crew took him out on a stretcher.
“We know Josef. He’s a tough guy. He will not step suddenly off the field. So, he will have something, that’s for sure, but we have to wait,” Atlanta United manager Frank De Boer said. “You know, it’s too early to predict, but I think it’s not a good sign that he goes off, and (misses the chance) to make the 16 in a row, of course, but yeah, it’s like that and we have to deal with it. But again, we have to wait.”
The game winner for the Five Stripes was scored Emerson Hyndman at the 90th minute, his first MLS goal this season. The score was set by Darlington Nagbe as he in the middle of the field and found an open Hyndman on his right side, who then finished the play by shooting the ball into the upper left corner.
“Well, it was a long time coming for me. I missed a few chances early on, but Nagbe made a great run, slipped me through, and thankfully, I finished that one,” Hyndman said.
Two minutes later, Pity Martinez secured the victory when he scored the third goal for Atlanta after receiving an assist by Brandon Vazquez.
The Five Stripes started the match on the right foot when Justin Meram scored the first goal four minutes into the match.
The lead would only last over 20 minutes, when Cristian Diaz tied the match after he scored the equalizer on a play where he ran down the right side of the field and was able to slip the ball past Brad Guzan.
A big break would take place at the 34th minute for Atlanta when Diaz received his second yellow card of the match after he stepped on Franco Escobar’s leg. The double yellow would mean that San Jose played with just 10 men for the remaining 56 minutes.
The win placed Atlanta back into second place in the Eastern Conference with 54 points, just four behind first place New York City FC.
United will now prepare for a tough test Wednesday night when they will face NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.