Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Josef Martinez continued his seemingly unstoppable march towards the MLS single-season scoring record, scoring twice against Toronto FC, but Atlanta United could only manage a 2-2 draw against the defending champs thanks to a late Tosaint Ricketts equalizer.
Martinez and Atlanta looked well on their way to victory for much of the match, but Ricketts slid in at the far post to finish off a Sebastian Giovinco-inspired passage of play in the 90th minute and earn the defending champs a valuable point in their playoff push.
Atlanta were dominant for much of the half, with Miguel Almiron putting a great chance wide and Alex Bono coming up with a huge one-on-one stop against Josef Martinez. Those heroics set the stage for Giovinco, who steered home a cross from Auro after an entry pass from Jozy Altidore, to give the Reds a shock halftime lead.
The home side were handed a way back into the game early in the second half, after Martinez touched by ball across goal, past Bono, only to be taken down by the goalkeeper for a penalty kick. Martinez converted the penalty himself.
Martinez wasn't done there, though. After another spell of Atlanta pressure, the Venezuelan somehow got into the end of a cross from Hector Villalba, getting just enough on his diving header to guide the ball inside the far post for his 26th goal of the season, just one away from the record that's stood since 1996.
Despite Atlanta's continued pressure, Toronto made their chances count stole late on. Minutes after Giovinco rattled the crossbar, Ricketts finished off a low cross from Jonathan Osorio following a picture-perfect Giovinco through ball.
- 45+1' – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco | Watch
- 53' – ATL – Josef Martinez | Watch
- 67' – ATL – Josef Martinez | Watch
- 90' – TOR – Tosaint Ricketts | Watch
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Five Stripes, despite the dropped points moved five points ahead of New York City FC in the Supporters' Shield and Eastern Conference races, but allowed the possibility that NYCFC could overtake them if the Cityzens win their two games in hand. Toronto FC, meanwhile, inched closer to the playoff line. They are, at least for now, just five points back of the line, but that gap could be eight depending on how other results break on Saturday evening.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It has to be the late equalizer. Just minutes after a beautiful look from Giovinco struck the bar, the Italian reached into his bag of tricks to feed Osorio, who in turn found Ricketts to had Toronto a huge result.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Sebastian Giovinco looked like his old self in this one. Though he was not going to see much of the ball in this one, he made the touches he did get count. His goal was a fairly simple finish off a great run, while his through ball to Osorio made TFC's equalizer happen.
- Atlanta: Sunday Aug. 19 vs. Columbus (4 pm ET | TSN2 - Full TV & streaming info)
- Toronto: Canadian Championship - Wednesday Aug. 8 at Vancouver (10 pm ET | TSN, TSN GO)