Atlanta United 3, Columbus Crew SC 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Josef Martinez tied the MLS single-season scoring record early with his 27th of the season, Hector Villalba put Atlanta United up for good and then Miguel Almiron added a stylish strike to seal a 3-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Gyasi Zardes hammered in his 15th goal of the season just after halftime for Columbus, who saw their three-match win streak snapped. Crew SC remain in fourth in the East, seven points ahead of Philadelphia and Montreal in the last two playoff places, and seven behind third-place NYCFC.
- 31' – ATL – Josef Martinez | Watch
- 50' – CLB – Gyasi Zardes | Watch
- 76' – ATL – Hector Villalba | Watch
- 82' – ATL – Miguel Almiron | Watch
- THE BIG PICTURE: Atlanta may hold the lead, but with six of their nine remaining matches coming on the road and the Red Bulls holding a match in hand, the Shield race is far from over. Meanwhile, it would take an exceptional late flourish or collapse to change the fortunes of Columbus, who appear locked into that fourth spot.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: On the day, Martinez's goal didn't decide the match. But in the history books, it will live on as the earliest 27th goal of the season in MLS history, and an embodiment of how quickly the Venezuelan is capable of punishing opposition mistakes.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Martinez's history making aside, it was Villalba who truly changed the game when Atlanta needed it. He deservedly scored the go-ahead goal after a ferocious run, then did much of the legwork on Almiron's ninth goal of the year.