St. Louis, which plays in the USL, did what most expected and bunkered in against Atlanta United’s strong lineup, using a five-man backline and four-man midfield to try to clog passing lanes and take away room for runs.
Still, Atlanta United created several good opportunities in the first half. Pity Martinez had a shot saved and put another wide after a tenacious run by Josef Martinez that broke several tackles. Hyndman had two shots blocked. Josef Martinez had a shot saved.
“We had runners everywhere,” de Boer said. “The surface was quite difficult, quite hard. When it was wet it was difficult to stay on your feet.”
Atlanta United broke through in the 53rd minute with a goal from Pity Martinez. The assist went to Hyndman, who sneakily dispossessed a St. Louis player with the ball in the penalty box and fed a short pass to Martinez to strike with his left foot. His curled effort landed in the top corner in a shot similar to his goal against Orlando City earlier this season.
The second goal was scored by Josef Martinez on a penalty kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time after Dion Pereira earned a foul in the box.
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