Atlanta United has never beaten the New York Red Bulls, but they have struck first at home in the 2018 Eastern Conference finals as Josef Martinez grabbed yet another goal, his 34th of the season.
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Despite Atlanta’s hefty possessional advantage through the first half-hour at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the goal came on a long cross into the box with only Martinez lurking. The ball from Jeff Larentowicz came in from the deep right flank, and Tim Parker midjudged the flight, letting it sneak over his head. There was Martinez waiting, and he collected with his chest before finishing past Luis Robles on an island.
The lead is the first Atlanta has enjoyed this season against New York, and gives Atlanta a significant advantage this season, with just one loss all season after scoring first. Atlanta took that lead into the break, owning 62% possession through the first 45 minutes and holding New York to just one shot, zero on target. Bradley Wright-Phillips was completely neutralized, with just six passes received, only two in the attacking third.