Ezequiel Barco scored his seventh goal of the season off a free kick from distance and assisted Josef Martinez’s team-leading ninth to help Atlanta United to a 3-2 victory over visiting D.C. United on Saturday afternoon.
George Bello added a late insurance goal after some exceptional set-up work from Marcelino Moreno as Atlanta (9-7-9, 36 points) won its third in a row and seventh in its last eight games.
Brad Guzan made three saves — including two exceptional stops — to help his side move up to fourth in the Eastern Conference ahead of other games later this weekend. Atlanta will finish the weekend no worse than sixth in the East chase for seven playoff spots.
Felipe scored on an exceptional long-range half volley for his first goal in a D.C. uniform and his first anywhere in MLS since the early part of the 2019 season with Vancouver.
Edison Flores added his second of the year on yet another wonderful strike from distance in deep second-half stoppage time. But there were only a few seconds remaining between D.C. (10-11-4, 34 points) and its first loss since a 2-1 defeat to the same Atlanta side back in Washington four games ago.
Barco and Martinez have both been instrumental in making Atlanta arguably the best team in the league over its last eight games.
Barco now has six goals and four assists in that span. Martinez has five goals and an assist.
On Saturday, Barco got it started in the 18th minute when he unleashed a curling, 25-yard free kick from beyond the left side of the penalty area above D.C.’s defensive wall and into the top left corner of the goal.
Guzan denied Russell Canouse from point blank range on a header just before halftime, and dove low to deny an exceptional effort from Flores in the 61st minute.
Martinez made it a 2-0 Atlanta lead three minutes later when he ran onto Barco’s sly pass into the penalty area and sent a first-time finish between the charging Hamid and his left near post.
Felipe struck in the 75th minute before Bello added some cushion for Atlanta in the 87th that proved necessary when Flores struck in second-half stoppage time.
–Field Level Media
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