Pity Martinez debuted for Atlanta United as it was beaten 3-1 by Herediano on Thursday in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League game in Heredia, Costa Rica. (Atlanta United)

Pity Martinez draws praise in Atlanta United debut in CCL

Though the Five Stripes were defeated 3-1 by Herediano in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League series, Martinez notched an assist and came close to another. He showed dribbling skills in eluding several Herdiano defenders in the first half and hit inventive passes.

“Willing us forward by himself at times,” captain Michael Parkhurst said.

Jeff Larentowicz said it was clear that Martinez was working to create opportunities for his teammates. He was subbed off in the 76th minute after the one assist and three shots, none on goal. He won two fouls. He passed through  the post-game interview zone before there was a chance to ask his thoughts on his performance.

Martinez’s first assist was fairly easy, a pass to his right to Julian Gressel, who dribbled to his left before hitting a left-footed shot that cut Herediano’s lead to 2-1 in the 41st minute.

What could have, or should have, been his second assist came on a more difficult pass when his cross to Josef Martinez was headed inches wide of the goal by the prolific striker.

“Pity started very well,” Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said. “He put in a lot energy in the game.”

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