San Jose Earthquakes 3, Atlanta United 4 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Though the San Jose Earthquakes mounted a two-goal second-half lead over Atlanta United on Wednesday night at Avaya Stadium, it wasn't enough to stop the Supporters' Shield leaders, who rode a brace by Josef Martinez and a Miguel Almiron equalizer to a wild 4-3 come-from-behind win.
The Quakes opened the scoring in the 13th minute, on a fullback-to-fullback connection that saw Shea Salinas send a perfectly-weighted cross for Nick Lima to head in. Danny Hoesen doubled the Quakes' lead in the 43rd minute, but the margin wouldn't hold up in four minutes of first-half stoppage time, with Hector Villalba volleying in a goal to get the Supporters' Shield leaders into the match.
The second-half scoring began with Vako weaving through the Atlanta defense to score in the 58th minute, and then it looked as if sub Chris Wondolowski had gotten one goal closer to the all-time MLS tally. But a handball on a prior sequence, attributed to Magnus Eriksson, allowed Martinez to slot in a PK goal to bring ATL within one. Four minutes later, Almiron equalized, and then deep into stoppage time, provided the cross that Martinez headed home for his 30th of the year and the game winner.
- 13' – SJ – Nick Lima | WATCH
- 43' – SJ – Danny Hoesen | WATCH
- 45' + 2' – ATL – Hector Villalba | WATCH
- 58' – SJ – Vako | WATCH
- 69' – ATL – Josef Martinez (PK) | WATCH
- 73' – ATL – Miguel Almiron | WATCH
- 90' + 4' – ATL – Josef Martinez | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: For much of the match, it looked like new coach Steve Ralston was bringing a lift to a team in need of it. But for much of the season, Atlanta's looked to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Consider that they used their game in hand, in a late-starting West Coast road tilt, to widen their lead over the Red Bulls with three unanswered goals inside of a half hour.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Martinez scoring from the spot, after the apparent Wondo goal was called back, was a two-goal swing allowing Atlanta belief and momentum.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: With his brace, Martinez again nudged above the goal-a-match ratio and likely cemented an MVP award. Though anything can happen in the playoffs, do we now expect anything less from Atlanta than hoisting an MLS Cup in less than three months?