Josef Martinez scored two goals and Atlanta United won the first playoff series in franchise history, knocking off New York City FC 3-1 in the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday.

Atlanta won the two-game series 4-1 on aggregate, finishing off the visiting team with Martinez’s second goal on a breakaway in the 83rd minute. The game drew a crowd of 70,526 — another attendance record for the 2-year-old franchise that has quickly developed one of the world’s most rabid soccer followings.

The victory made up for the bitter disappointment of Atlanta United’s inaugural season, when the expansion team made the playoffs but lost a knockout-round game at home to Columbus on penalties.

Atlanta claimed a big edge in the series by winning the first leg, 1-0 at Yankee Stadium. United, which finished two points behind New York Red Bulls in the Supporters’ Shield standings, returned home merely needing a tie to go through to the Eastern Conference final. They got more than that, earning a spot in the conference final against either Columbus or the Red Bulls.

Miguel Almiron also scored for United. Maxime Chanot scored for New York City.


KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Daniel Salloi scored two goals and Kansas City beat Real Salt Lake for Sporting’s first playoff win in five years.

It gave Sporting a 5-3 series win on aggregate to advance to face the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference finals, also a two-game series.

Sporting KC scored two early goals in the first half for a 3-1 aggregate lead. Diego Rubio opened the scoring in the 14th minute with an easy finish of Felipe Gutierrez’s unselfish pass. RSL nearly tied it three minutes later but Tim Melia denied Damir Kreilach’s close-range attempt.

After a RSL turnover, Gutierrez rolled it through the middle of the defense and Salloi chipped it over goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Sporting KC’s second-half scoring came on Ilie Sanchez’s penalty kick for a 3-1 lead and Salloi’s tap-in into an empty net in stoppage time.

Sebastian Saucedo scored RSL’s first goal at the 60-minute mark and Damir Kreilach added another 12 minutes later to pull to 3-2. Joao Plata assisted on both goals.

Source: The Associated Press

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