Atlanta United ran out New York City Football Club, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon to win their Eastern Conference Semifinal.
Coupled with their 1-0 win at Yankee Stadium a week ago, Atlanta won by an aggregate of 4-1.
Atlanta dominated from the start on Sunday, and they took advantage in the 25th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick.
Josef Martinez took it and buried it to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
It didn't take long for them to double their advantage. In the 42nd minute, Miguel Almiron launched a rocket from the top of the box by NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson to make it 2-0 on the day and 3-0 on aggregate.
NYCFC would need four goals to advance, and Maxime Chanot gave them a glimmer of hope before halftime as he scored in the 45th minute.
That hope would be short-lived, as NYCFC never really had a chance in the second half.
Martinez got his second goal of the match, with an assist from Eric Remedi, in the 83rd minute to make it 3-1 and seal the game.
Atlanta moves on to play the Red Bulls (3-0 winners over Columbus on Sunday night) in the Eastern Conference Finals.
NYCFC Head Coach Domènec Torrent said of the match, “It is not easy to play when you make two mistakes and they score. The first goal the penalty, the second goal is a free kick. When we played much better, we were able to score and we are there. After that, in the second half in my opinion, we played a little bit better than the first half. We had the control, but it is not enough. When you arrive in the semifinals, it is about the goals and you have to score the goals. We knew we needed to score. We were not able to score more goals. After that, the third goal is because everyone is focusing to score a goal and it is two against two. It is another mistake because one player broke the line. Soccer is about mistakes. When you arrive in the semifinals and the final, it is about the team that doesn’t concede goals and doesn’t make mistakes will have the opportunity to make the final.”
Torrent said of Atlanta punishing mistakes, “If you make a mistake, you pay with points or, right now Atlanta is in the [conference] final and it is not New York City. I think we played much better the second half. When we had the control, they score the third goal and the game is over. The first half is about our mistakes. You concede two goals from mistakes. It’s not impossible, but it is very difficult to win the important game like tonight in the semifinals if you concede two goals.”