Atlanta United won their final regular season home game over the visiting Chicago Fire. See what we learned from the 2-1 victory.
Atlanta United topped the visiting Chicago Fire by a 2-1 scoreline. Although the margin of victory looks close, the game was anything but. The Five Stripes put together a solid performance despite missing some key players around the pitch.
With the win, Atlanta keep their hold on the Supporters’ Shield and it looks as if winning the trophy will come down to Decision Day. A win in Toronto on the final day of the regular season will lock up the shield, while a draw or loss will require the New York Red Bulls to drop points in their match against Orlando City.
As for the win against Chicago, there is a lot to unpack. Atlanta got an MVP performance from an unlikely source, made history on multiple fronts, and saw a fan favorite get some more playing time. They also clinched a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament next year in front of another record-breaking crowd.
See what we learned from Sunday’s big win.
5. An MVP performance
With this type of heading, your first guess might be that Josef Martinez scored yet another hat-trick or that Miguel Almiron bagged two goals and assisted two others. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case on Sunday. No, Atlanta’s MVP performance came from their right back, Franco Escobar.
Check out Escobar’s stat line from Sunday: one goal, 39/46 passing, a tackle, defensive block, interception, four clearances, and eight recoveries. Escobar made the most out of his opportunities, especially on his goal in the ninth minute. When the ball originally bounced his way he looked to send the ball to Martinez for a shot on goal. That pass was blocked, only to send the ball back to Escobar when he took the shot on his own and sent it into the back of the net. It was Escobar’s first career MLS goal and with his left foot no less.
Atlanta needed this performance from Escobar. The team is missing their most creative player, Almiron, and have had trouble getting goals from Martinez in recent weeks. That meant other players on the team needed to step up, and in this case it was Escobar.
This game most likely did wonders for the Argentine. He hadn’t started a match since September 22 and only logged 23 minutes in the two matches since. With a goal on Sunday and solid performance overall, Escobar can finish the season with confidence heading into the playoffs. His strong showing on Sunday displayed his worth to the team and showed supporters why the front office went out and got him over the offseason.