Sometimes you don’t have to play your best to earn three points. Although this usually isn’t the case for Atlanta’s new expansion side, last night a goal from Tito Villalba and a clean sheet from Brad Guzan helped the Five Stripes to the win after a two week break.
Truthfully, both teams looked like they hadn’t played in two weeks. The first half saw a couple decent chances for either side. Orlando had one great opportunity to find the net first in the 39th when Jonathan Spector’s free kick was nearly headed in, but Brad Guzan made a fingertip save to preserve the first half shutout. Atlanta’s best chance came in the 41st when a crafty run left Yamil Asad alone with Joe Bendik to beat, but it wasn’t to be.
18-year-old Brandon Vasquez almost put the Five Stripes on the board in the 70th minute, but Bendik basically made every save he could’ve possibly made tonight. That is until Tito Villalba went full superhero mode in the 86th minute.
Simply stunning from Villalba https://t.co/jGJ9Kmq16p
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) July 22, 2017
The strike from Villalba is a sure goal of the week candidate and could possibly be a goal of the year candidate as well. I’m not sure anyone expected it, but the classy finish came at the perfect time for the Five Stripes and was enough for three points.
Tats Martino gave credit to Brad Guzan after the game, saying “besides all the great saves he made tonight, he made us feel more secure.” Guzan also offered his thoughts, saying “Road wins haven’t been the easiest for us to come by, so for us to come to a place like Orlando and take all three points is a good feeling.”
Josef Martinez missed the game due to a foot confusion, and his return is on a day-to-day basis. If he is better by the 29th, you’d have to imagine that Atlanta can take all three once again, this time in front of a sold out Bobby Dodd Stadium.