• Atlanta United defeats San Jose, but Martinez leaves injured, on stretcher

    By: Doug Roberson for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Late goals from Emerson Hyndman and Pity Martinez lifted Atlanta United to a 3-1 win over 10-man San Jose on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

    But the team may have bigger concerns because Josef Martinez had to be subbed off in the 79th minute with with appeared to be a knee injury.

    The win secured at least one home game in the MLS playoffs and keeps alive Atlanta United's hopes of finishing in first place in the East. The team trails NYCFC by three points. The Boys in Blue will play at Dallas on Sunday. Philadelphia, which dropped to third behind Atlanta United, will play at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday. 

    Atlanta United can boost its hopes of a first-place finish with a victory at NYCFC on Wednesday. Finishing on top comes with a bye in the first round and home-field advantage through the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

    Manager Frank de Boer selected the same starting 11 that was used in Wednesday's 2-0 win at Cincinnati: Goalkeeper Guzan, centerbacks Franco Escobar, Miles Robinson and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, wingbacks Justin Gressel and Meram, defensive midfielders Eric Remedi and Darlington Nagbe, midfielders Hyndman and Pity Martinez, and striker Josef Martinez. 

    Atlanta United needed just four minutes to take a lead when a shot by Meram took a deflection and beat San Jose's Daniel Vega. The shot was set up by a dummy by Josef Martinez, allowing the ball to go to Pity Martinez, whose pass found Meram about 25 yards from in the center of the pitch. His shot bounced off an onrushing San Jose defender. It was Meram's fourth goal. 

    San Jose tied the score in the 27th minute when Cristian Espinoza won a header against Meram. Espinoza raced 40 yards to the end line, where his cross was put in by Guzan as he dove to his right to try to cut down the angle. It was ruled an own-goal against Guzan. The poor play started with Meram losing the aerial duel. Meram couldn't foul Espinoza even if he caught up to him because he had already received a yellow card in the 24th minute. If Meram had received another he would have been ejected, leaving Atlanta United reduced to 10 players for the remainder of the game. 

    Atlanta United caught a break in the 36th minute when Espinoza received his second yellow for stepping on Escobar. Espinoza was subsequently ejected, reducing San Jose to 10 men for the final 54 minutes. Espinoza received his first yellow card from referee Chris Penso in the 16th minute for jumping in front of an Atlanta United throw-in. 

    Atlanta United missed a chance to take a 2-1 lead when a shot by Hyndman from six yards sailed over the bar. To be fair, Hyndman wasn't expecting the ball to come to him. It did because Florian Jungwith's attempt at a clearance spun off his foot sideways two yards to the surprised Hyndman. 

    Atlanta United wasted another chance in the 54th minute when a short cross by Hyndman rolled across the front of the goal with no teammate near it because none made runs to the near post or back post. Instead, Gressel and Josef Martinez both ran to the penalty spot. 

    Wanting the three points, de Boer subbed on Hector Villalba for Meram in the 60th minute and striker Brandon Vazquez for Remedi in the 65th minute.

    This story was written by Doug Roberson for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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