Atlanta United 3, NYCFC 1: Player ratings

Nov 11, 2018 Atlanta: Atlanta United Josef Martinez celebrates scoring the team’s first goal on a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead over New York City with teammates Miguel Almiron and Julian Gressel during the first half in their MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff match on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

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Nov 11, 2018 Atlanta: Atlanta United Josef Martinez celebrates scoring the team’s first goal on a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead over New York City with teammates Miguel Almiron and Julian Gressel during the first half in their MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff match on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

My ratings for Atlanta United's players from Sunday's 3-1 win against NYCFC in the second leg of the MLS Eastern Conference playoff series at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, 8:  Finished with three saves, claimed two crosses and dealt with David Villa's shenanigans throughout the night. ... Tough save in the 16th minute to preserve a 0-0 tie. ... Not much he could do to stop NYCFC's first goal ... Made two good saves in first 10 minutes of second half. ...

Centerback Miles Robinson, 7.5: Villa was once again held to no shots on goal. ... Quiet and effective first half. ... Yellow cards in the 61st minute of the second half for a professional foul to stop a counterattack. ... Completed a respectable 70 percent of his passes and made three tackles. ... Really only one identifiable mistake on defense in the first half, but Michael Parkhurst came over and cleaned it up. ... Bright future with the team.

Centerback Michael Parkurst, 8: Villa was once again held to no shots on goal. ... Very smart play in 40th minute to get back and help Robinson stop Villa by heading the ball back to Guzan. ... Didn't need to make a tackle because he read the game well. ... Played the short pass when it was there, but often tried to play passes over NYCFC's lines.

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, 8: Villa was once again held to no shots on goal. ... Hard tackle after hard tackle. ... Threw himself into the path of a shot in the 67th minute. ... Finished with three tackles and outmuscled any NYCFC defender that tried to tangle with him.

Right wingback Franco Escobar, 8: A great, lung-busting run down the right led to him being taken down in the penalty box for Atlanta United's first goal ... Double error just before halftime by giving away a free kick with a reckless tackle, and then failing to mark Maxime Chanot, who scored NYCFC's opening goal off that free kick. ... But those were his only mistakes. ... Finished with a team-high six tackles and won three fouls. ... Fun watching him gallop up and down the flanks with his long strides.

Left wingback Greg Garza, 7: His speed and passing ability keeps opposing fullbacks and midfielders pegged back just a bit, which was again the case on Sunday. ...

Defensive midfielder Eric Remedi, 8.5:  Man of the match in the series. ... Assisted on Martinez's second goal with a beautiful pass. ... Again frustrated Maxi Moralez by practically marking him out of the game. ... Finished with five tackles, won two fouls and completed almost 90 percent of his passes.

Defensive midfielder Darlington Nagbe, 7.5: Fantastic pass into space led to the penalty against Escobar and Atlanta United's first goal. ... Worked hard on defense and offense and still completed more than 92 percent of his passes, while also winning three fouls. ... Really played well in the series.

Attacking midfielder Julian Gressel, 7.5: A quiet game, but that was OK because he did what was needed to frustrate NYCFC on defense, and served as an outlet on offense.

Striker Miguel Almiron, 8.5: Another tireless effort. ... Earned a free kick in the 24th minute and then scored on that free kick in the 25th minute to  give Atlanta United a 2-0 lead. ... Missed a one-on-one chance in the second half. ... Earned at least three yellow cards against NYCFC defenders. ... Put NYCFC on its heels time after time because there may be no sight in MLS more frightening than Almiron turning with the ball and facing the opposing goal.

Striker Josef Martinez, 9: Gave his team a 1-0 lead with a penalty kick, his ninth this season. ...  Added his second goal in the 83rd minute to give Atlanta United a 3-1 lead.

SUBS

Ezequiel Barco (on for Almiron, 84th minute), NR: 

Hector Villalba (on for Martinez, 86th minute), NR:

Kevin Kratz (on for Nagbe, 89th minute), NR: