Almiron, Martinez strike as Atlanta advance

Atlanta United advanced to the semi- finals of MLS Cup playoffs on Sunday as New York City FC’s quest for postseason glory fell short once again.

Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez and Paraguayan international Miguel Almiron got the goals to give Atlanta a 3-1 victory, sealing a 4-1 aggregate win.

Atlanta will now face the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship game for a place in the MLS Cup final showpiece on December 8.

The Red Bulls advanced with a 3-0 win on Sunday over the Columbus Crew, giving them a 3-1 aggregate victory.

It was another disappointing playoff exit for New York City, who have now bowed out at the same stage of the postseason for the past three years in a row.

Atlanta, leading 1-0 from the away leg, were put on the road to victory midway through the first half when Tajouri Shradi clumsily brought down Felipe Escobar in the area.

Martinez stepped up to convert the penalty, sending City goalkeeper Sean Johnson the wrong way with a bizarre bunny-hop just before stroking in the spot-kick.

Almiron made it 2-0 three minutes before half-time, curling in a superb free-kick from 25 yards to put Atlanta 3-0 ahead on aggregate.

City defender Maxime Chanot gave the visitors a lifeline after pulling a goal back for New York with a header just before half-time, but Atlanta held firm after the break to clinch the win, Martinez grabbing his second seven minutes from time.

In the other half of the draw, Sporting Kansas City advanced to Western Conference clash with the Portland Timbers after defeating Real Salt Lake 4-2 to complete a 5-3 aggregate win.

Goals in each half from Hungarian striker Daniel Salloi made certain of the win for Kansas City, who are chasing a third MLS Cup following wins in 2000 and 2013.

The Red Bulls, who had to come back from a 1-0 loss in the first leg against Columbus, will visit Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 25 with the return leg in New York four days later.

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This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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