Martinez shines in Atlanta’s victory over DC United - GulfToday

Martinez shines in Atlanta’s victory over DC United

Soccer

Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders players vie for the ball during their MLS match on Sunday. Reuters

Los Angeles: Pity Martinez scored the eventual winner and Brad Guzan earned his 10th shutout as Atlanta United FC beat the Wayne Rooney-less DC United 2-0 on Sunday.

Pity Martinez scored in the 89th minute and Josef Martinez added the insurance goal in stoppage time as second place Atlanta improved to 11-8-3 on the MLS season.

Guzan stopped three shots for the shutout over D.C. United, who missed Rooney as they rely heavily on him for much of their scoring. Guzan now has a league-leading 10 shutouts.

D.C.’s loss dropped them to third place in the Eastern Conference with a 9-6-8 record, one point back from Atlanta.

Rooney was left off the roster of the key regular season contest after coach Ben Olsen allowed him to take some time off due to some “niggling” injuries, about which he refused to go into detail.

As a result the 33-year-old Rooney missed his first match because of injuries since joining the MLS team last year.

The win pushes Atlanta United up into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference, three points off the lead with a match in hand.

They will now head west for one of the most anticipated matches of the season, taking on Western Conference leaders LAFC in California. They will also host the Galaxy the following weekend at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Meanwhile, Brian Fernandez’s torrid start to his MLS career continued as he delivered a brace for the Portland Timbers in a 2-1 victory over Cascadia rivals the Seattle Sounders.

Fernandez made his first appearance for Portland in May, having joined from Liga MX club Necaxa, and has now scored eight goals for the MLS side in just nine games. Raul Rudiaz delivered the lone goal for the Sounders, who finished the weekend third in the Western Conference after the LA Galaxy’s win on Friday.

Elsewhere, the New York Red Bulls were 1-0 winners away to Orlando City courtesy of Brian White, closing the gap to D.C. in the East to just a point.

Agence France-Presse