Atlanta United 2, Real Salt Lake 0 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Atlanta United methodically broke down a defiant but overmatched Real Salt Lake side by a 2-0 scoreline in front of another enormous crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday night, riding a Julian Gressel golazo and a second-half insurance strike from Hector "Tito" Villalba to their fifth victory in six games.
RSL kept their wits and held their own under hostile circumstances and will rue their failure to make the most of several decent chances, including a Jefferson Savarino bid that clanged off the post. Gressel's picturesque volley put them in a hole, however, and Villalba got a dose of luck as his acrobatic effort — set up by a Gressel throw-in — also found the woodwork only to carom into the net off Nick Rimando's back.
- THE BIG PICTURE: As if Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron aren't deadly enough, the irrepressible Gressel and lively Villalba reminded everyone that the Five Stripes' supporting cast can inflict ample damage as well. ATLUTD march on towards the Supporters' Shield, and could effectively clinch it with a win at RBNY next week.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: RSL's first-half resistance might've given the home faithful reason to doubt that all three points would be secured, at least until Gressel's gorgeously-struck opener:
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Plenty of deserving contenders for this honor; Julian Gressel banks it for his goal and assist.