12/8/18 - Atlanta - The Atlanta United soccer team plays the Portland Timbers for the MLS Cup, the championship game of the Major League Soccer League at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

MLS Cup: Atlanta United player ratings

My ratings for Atlanta United’s players from Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Portland in Saturday’s MLS Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, 9: Preserved Atlanta United’s 1-0 lead with a point-bank save of Jeremy Ebobisse late in the first half. ... Made another big save in the second half that kept the lead at two. ... Claimed two crosses. ... Had a couple of nervous moments with distribution. Otherwise....super solid.

Centerback Jeff Larentowicz, 8: Didn’t have much to do because the Timbers’ attack lacked bite throughout the night. ... Made the smart plays when needed, such as when he simply kicked the ball out of bounds in the first half rather than try a risky pass in the corner. ... Now, the question is will he return? He said he hopes to keep playing.

Centerback Michael Parkhurst, 10: Gigantic sliding tackle led to Josef Martinez’s opening goal. ... Cut out cross after cross. ... First MLS Cup in his fifth try.

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, 9: If Ebobbise did anything of importance, it wasn’t remembered or noticed.

Right wingback Franco Escobar, 9.5: Got into two dangerous positions in first five minutes. ... Kept attacking and was rewarded with his second goal of the playoffs in the 54th minute with a sliding finish.

Left wingback Greg Garza, 8: Put in a few good crosses early. ... Hustled back in 31st minute to stop a counterattack. ...

Defensive midfielder Eric Remedi, 10: Totally neutralized Diego Valeri, who had just two shots, none on goal, and two chances created.

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe, 9: Worked well with Julian Gressel early to give Diego Chara a tough time. ... The rest of the game was typical Nagbe: wriggling out of pressure here, taking chances when he could, providing good cover for the defense.

Midfielder Julian Gressel, 8: Strong start with forcing two turnovers from Diego Chara. ... He and Nagbe formed a strong partnership early controlling middle of the field ... just a maniac throughout the game. ... Watch the replay of the game, and look at his eyes as he walking out of the tunnel onto the field. ... He was focused.

Striker Miguel Almiron, 8: Occupied the minds of most of Portland’s defenders throughout the game. ... Had just one shot and one chance created, but his influence was total. ...Hit the turf hard after fouls by Liam Ridgewell around the 12th minute. ... Assisted on Escobar’s goal. ...

Striker Josef Martinez, 8.5: Not a lot of touches early. ... Had a penalty claim denied after being tripped by Larrys Mabiala. ... Missed Nagbe with a through pass on goal around the 27th minute. ... Scored Atlanta United’s opening goal with a close shot. It was Martinez’s 35th goal this season, extending his MLS record for scoring. ... Assisted on Escobar’s goal. ... 


Hector Villalba (on for Martinez, 76), NR:

Ezequiel Barco (on for Almiron, 90), NR.

Chris McCann (on for Garza, 90+), NR.

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