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Columbus Crew SC 0, Atlanta United 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Atlanta United FC extended their lead in the Supporters' Shield race to four points entering the World Cup break, as they defeated Columbus Crew SC 2-0 at MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday.

Atlanta took the lead in the 30th minute, as Josef Martinez scored a header off an Ezequiel Barco corner kick, but Martinez was injured on the play, his head slamming into Artur's. The Venezuelan received treatment and did continue in the match until halftime, when he was replaced by Romario Williams.

Crew SC had a number of near-misses on the night, including a Federico Higuain shot from distance in the first half that was deflected and nearly snuck under the crossbar, and a Gyasi Zardes tap-in chance on a low cross in the 75th minute in which the striker just missed the shot.

Hector Villalba made his return from injury off the bench in the second half, and hit the capper on the night with a goal off the counterattack in the 82nd minute.

Goals

  • 30' – ATL – Josef Martinez | WATCH
  • 82' – ATL – Hector Villalba | WATCH

Three Things 

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Atlanta United may be atop the Shield standings, but the past couple games left head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino to publicly note his team's performances had been lacking. In a game against one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference, he'll likely be far more impressed with the effort in the victory.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The game had really been wide open until Martinez scored the winner, and the injury he sustained could have larger implications if he has to miss any time.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: The stars showed up for Atlanta, but Jeff Larentowicz put in a trademark display in midfield, pushing Columbus' midfield and keeping them a bit off-balance all night long.

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