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MLS Review: Atlanta beat Rooney-less DC United at the death

07:47 EAT 22/07/2019
JosefMartinez - cropped
Gonzalo Martinez came off the bench to break the deadlock in the 89th minute before Josef Martinez sealed the Five Stripes victory

Atlanta United scored twice in the final minutes to beat D.C. United 2-0 as the defending MLS champions moved second in the Eastern Conference.

Gonzalo Martinez came off the bench to break the deadlock in the 89th minute before Josef Martinez sealed the victory in stoppage time on Sunday.

Playing in the absence of former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney, who was rested for the Atlanta trip, D.C. should have fallen behind in the 72nd minute.

Josef Martinez earned a penalty but the Venezuela international was unable to convert, firing his spot-kick over the crossbar following a stuttered run-up.

However, Gonzalo Martinez managed to break the deadlock with a close-range header in the final minute of regulation before Josef sprung the off-side trap and added a second in the second minute of stoppage time.

It was Gonzalo's second goal in his last eight games, to go along with five assists over that span, as Atlanta's record signing shows signs of life after a difficult start to his debut MLS campaign. 

With the win, Frank de Boer's Atlanta leapfrogged D.C. into second position in the east – three points adrift of the Philadelphia Union with a game in hand.

Meanwhile, Brian Fernandez's torrid start to his MLS career continued as he delivered a brace for the Portland Timbers in a 2-1 victory over Cascadia rivals the Seattle Sounders

Fernandez made his first appearance for Portland in May, having joined from Liga MX club Necaxa, and has now scored eight goals for the MLS side in just nine games.

Raul Rudiaz delivered the lone goal for the Sounders, who finished the weekend third in the Western Conference after the LA Galaxy's win on Friday.

Elsewhere, the New York Red Bulls were 1-0 winners away to Orlando City courtesy of Brian White, closing the gap to D.C. in the East to just a point.

The New England Revolution defeated lowly FC Cincinnati 2-0, making it seven games without a loss since former United States national team coach Bruce Arena was appointed by the Revs, going 5-0-2 over that span.