Martinez scores again as Atlanta beats Portland 2-0

Martinez scores again as Atlanta beats Portland 2-0
Atlanta United's Florentin Pogba, center, controls the ball as teammate Gonzalo "Pity" Martínez, left, looks on and Portland Timbers' Diego Valeri attempts to maneuver around him during an MLS soccer match host in Portland, Ore., on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Josef Martinez extended his MLS-record scoring streak to 11 games, helping Atlanta United beat the Portland Timbers 2-0 on Sunday night.

Atlanta (14-9-3) has won three straight and five of its last six games. United sits behind leader Philadelphia atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Portland (11-10-4) had won two in a row. It was the third of a 10-game homestand for the Timbers, who started the season with a 12-game trip because of construction at Providence Park. Fighting to stay in playoff contention, the Timbers hope to use the homestand to climb in the standings down the stretch.

It was a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final. United, in just its second year in the league, defeated Portland 2-0 in Atlanta for the championship.

Martinez, the defending MLS MVP, has 21 goals this year, one more than the Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic for second on the season list behind LAFC’s Carlos Vela, who has 24.

On Wednesday, Martinez scored on a penalty kick in the 65th minute and United gave MLS rare bragging rights over Liga MX with a 3-2 victory over Club America for the Campeones Cup.

Martinez scored in the 46th minute against the Timbers, a blast from 20 yards out that goalkeeper Steve Clark could only watch sail into the net.

United went up in the 14th minute. Atlanta’s corner kick was batted around in front of Clark before Leandro Gonzalez Pirez tapped it in.

It appeared that Brian Fernandez responded for the Timbers in the 23rd minute, but it was called offside and there was no VAR review.

In the 35th, it looked as if Fernandez had an open shot from about three yards out that he chipped over the bar. The offside flag again went up, but he still kicked a goal post in frustration.

Fernandez leads the Timbers with 10 goals in his last 13 league matches.

Portland upped the pressure in the second half. Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a tremendous save in the 65th minute on Julio Cascante’s header off a cross from Diego Valeri. It was Guzan’s league-leading 12th clean sheet of the season.

Portland was without defender Larrys Mabiala, who left Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Jorge Moreira was handed a yellow card in the first half, meaning he’ll have to sit out of Portland’s rivalry match Friday against the Seattle Sounders.

Atlanta visits Orlando City on Friday.


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