Sporting KC failed to close down Blanco in the second leg of the Western Conference finals and he scored one of the best goals in league history, a screamer from at least 25 yards away. Valeri scored the other two goals. The first was a header on a counterattack. The winner came when he got behind Sporting KC’s defense for a one-one one with goalkeeper Tim Melia. Chara had the assist.
“Chara kind of sets everything up,” Atlanta United’s Darlington Nagbe said. “Him winning the ball, sparking the counterattack and finding those two guys up top. Those guys can create something out of nothing.”
Atlanta United defended the trio well in the 1-1 draw during the regular season. Blanco had two shots, none on goals. Valeri had one. It also wasn’t on goal.
“They are three talented, experienced players,” Larentowciz said. “It’s going to be challenging.”