Josef Martinez continued his incredible form to lead Atlanta United to another win in MLS, while the Seattle Sounders climbed the table on Friday.

Martinez scored in a 12th straight MLS game to see Atlanta to a 1-0 victory over Orlando City in Florida.

The Venezuela international exchanged passes with Ezequiel Barco and curled an effort into the bottom corner on the hour-mark.

It continued Martinez's amazing run and was his 22nd goal in MLS this season, Atlanta winning a fourth straight league game and pulling three points clear atop the Eastern Conference.

The Sounders jumped into second in the Western Conference courtesy of a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers in Oregon.

Cristian Roldan tapped in the opener midway through the first half before Raul Ruidiaz side-footed in a Jordan Morris cross in the 47th minute.

Diego Valeri's deflected 54th-minute free-kick brought Portland back into the derby clash, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Portland are seventh in the Western Conference.

Atlanta United capped a fine week by beating Portland Timbers 2-0 to move top of the MLS Eastern Conference.

Frank de Boer's Atlanta overcame Mexican giants America 3-2 to win the Campeones Cup final on Wednesday.

Reigning MLS champions Atlanta backed that up with victory away to Portland courtesy of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Josef Martinez on Sunday.

Atlanta's Gonzalez Pirez slammed home the opener in the 14th minute at Providence Park in Portland.

After a flurry of chances, Martinez scored in his MLS-record 11th straight game – doubling the lead a minute into the second half with a curling effort – as Atlanta won their fifth MLS game in six matches.

Atlanta – who are in the US Open Cup final – are now top of the east, ahead of Philadelphia Union on the total wins tie-breaker, while Portland remain seventh in the Western Conference.

Frank de Boer has backtracked on his equal pay comment after he said it was "ridiculous" the United States women's national team expect to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

Women's World Cup winners USA, who beat Netherlands in last month's final, continue to be embroiled in a battle for equal pay with U.S. Soccer.

Atlanta United coach De Boer said he is a champion of women's soccer and indicated he regrets his choice of words during an interview with the Guardian.

“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. It's the same like tennis," De Boer said to the newspaper. "If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women's final, that's a difference. So it's not the same.

"And of course, they have to be paid what they deserve to and not less, just what they really deserve. If it's just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that.

"But it's not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it's ridiculous. I don't understand that."

De Boer, however, has now clarified his comments.

"Especially the word ridiculous," he said. "It's a hard word if I read that word only. If you see the whole context, I was very clear that I always promote women's soccer."

USA star Megan Rapinoe has been one of the most vocal athletes to speak out against the pay disparity, using her platform after USA defended their World Cup title.

Talks between players and governing body U.S. Soccer have broken down, with Rapinoe indicating she will continue fighting for equal pay.

"They're the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we're the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse we're tethered together," she told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.

"I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we're always open to that."

Frank de Boer celebrated his first piece of silverware as Atlanta United head coach after the MLS champions overcame America 3-2 in the Campeones Cup.

Former Inter and Crystal Palace boss De Boer replaced Gerardo Martino, who guided Atlanta to their first MLS title in 2018 before taking charge of Mexico.

De Boer claimed his first title with Atlanta on Wednesday thanks to a second-half comeback at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In the annual North American clash – pitting the MLS champions against the Liga MX winners after kicking off last year – Atlanta made a dream start courtesy of Emerson Hyndman midweek.

Hyndman broke the deadlock after just five minutes, but Mexican giants America hit back via Renato Ibarra eight minutes later in Atlanta.

Ibarra's shot went in off the crossbar, though Atlanta had a golden chance to restore their lead, however Josef Martinez's 41st-minute penalty was kept out by Oscar Jimenez.

Martinez was made to pay for his miss as America's Roger Martinez put the visitors ahead approaching the hour mark.

America's lead was short-lived, however, after Jeff Larentowicz's wonder strike levelled proceedings two minutes later and Martinez made amends for his penalty miss – the Atlanta star converting a 65th-minute spot-kick.

 

 

Carlos Vela tied the record for most combined goals and assists in a single MLS season as Los Angeles FC prevailed 4-2 against New York Red Bulls, while Atlanta United's Josef Martinez made history.

Vela scored and set up two others as Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC overcame the Red Bulls in a six-goal thriller on Sunday.

The Mexico international took his season tally to 23 goals and 15 assists – matching Sebastian Giovinco's feat with 10 matches remaining in the regular season.

Vela teed up Jordan Harvey for the 23rd-minute opener before Latif Blessing doubled LAFC's lead two minutes later, however, the Red Bulls rallied from 2-0 down to level in a stunning end to the first half.

Ex-Real Sociedad winger Vela converted a penalty just past the hour to put him on track to eclipse Martinez's single-season record of 31 goals set last term.

Vela then assisted Eddie Segura 18 minutes from the end as LAFC won their third successive game to move 16 points clear of Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference and 10 ahead of Philadelphia Union in the race for the Supporters' Shield.

Meanwhile, Martinez broke an MLS record by scoring in a 10th consecutive game for Atlanta – who edged New York City 2-1.

Reigning Golden Boot winner Martinez made history with his 42nd-minute header at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Venezuelan also scored from the penalty spot in the second half.

Heber pulled a goal back for visiting New York, however, defending champions Atlanta were not to be denied as they consolidated second spot in the Eastern Conference.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempted 15 shots – the most a player has taken in an MLS game this decade – as LA Galaxy lost 2-1 to a Wayne Rooney-less DC United.

In Sunday's other match, the high-flying Union were too good for Houston Dynamo 2-1.

Josef Martinez broke an MLS record by scoring in a 10th consecutive game for Atlanta United on Sunday.

The Venezuelan forward headed in a Julian Gressel cross for the opening goal – and MLS record – in the 42nd minute against New York City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez continuing his hot streak meant he surpassed the previous best mark he briefly shared with Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri.

The 26-year-old has netted 14 times during his run, which started in May, to close in on Los Angeles FC star Carlos Vela atop the MLS goalscoring charts.

Vela has struck 22 times for the Western Conference leaders, while Martinez is up to 19 goals.

Former Torino forward Martinez enjoyed a stellar season in 2018, too, scoring 35 MLS goals to be linked with a return to Europe.

Josef Martinez equalled his own record for most consecutive MLS games with a goal as defending champions Atlanta United beat LA Galaxy 3-0.

Martinez converted a 72nd-minute penalty as the reigning MLS MVP scored in his ninth successive league match on Saturday.

The Atlanta star has scored 13 goals in the nine-game period, with Martinez's season tally at 18 – four behind MLS leader Carlos Vela.

Frank de Boer's Atlanta were too good for the Galaxy, who were without suspended talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in front of 72,548 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

A pair of own goals put Atlanta 2-0 ahead at half-time – David Romney and Giancarlo Gonzalez both turning the ball into their own net.

Playing in front of a record regular-season crowd, Atlanta put the game beyond doubt when Martinez scored a penalty with 18 minutes remaining after VAR judged that Gonzalez fouled Emerson Hyndman.

Atlanta are top of the Eastern Conference – level on points with Philadelphia Union, while the Galaxy are third and 15 points adrift of Western Conference leaders and rivals Los Angeles FC.

Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC snapped New England Revolution's 11-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing.

Kei Kamara scored a hat-trick as Colorado Rapids overcame Montreal Impact 6-3 in a wild match.

Kamara opened the scoring, albeit at the other end via an 18th-minute own goal, but the Rapids star bounced back with another three where it mattered most.

His three-goal haul helped the Rapids – who led 4-1 at half-time – set a new team record with six goals in a regular-season match.

Elsewhere, New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto 2-0, Orlando City topped Dallas by the same scoreline, Vancouver Whitecaps edged FC Cincinnati 2-1, Houston Dynamo lost 1-0 to Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake were too good for New York City 3-1 and San Jose Earthquakes drew 1-1 with Columbus Crew.

Supporters' Shield leaders Los Angeles FC put their derby disappointment aside to overcome Atlanta United 4-3 in a thrilling MLS clash on Friday.

LAFC succumbed to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick in last week's loss to city rivals LA Galaxy, however, Bob Bradley's high-flying side bounced back.

Four unanswered goals from Adama Diomande, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela and Eduard Atuesta saw LAFC come from behind to beat reigning MLS champions Atlanta in Los Angeles.

Mo Adams gave Atlanta a second-minute lead before Diomande, Rossi, Vela and Atuesta scored in a 12-minute period prior to the interval.

Josef Martinez reduced the deficit in the second minute of first-half stoppage time and Eddie Segura's 51st-minute own goal gave Atlanta some hope away from home.

However, LAFC held on for their fourth victory in five league games to move 12 points clear atop the Western Conference and 10 clear in the Supporters' Shield race.

Meanwhile, New York City claimed back-to-back wins by defeating 10-man Sporting Kansas City 3-1.

Alex Ring scored and had two assists to lead New York to third in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta United scored twice in the final minutes to beat DC 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, DC 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.

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

Elsewhere, New York Red Bulls were 1-0 winners away to Orlando City courtesy of Brian White.

Brian Fernandez's brace led Portland Timbers past Seattle Sounders 2-1 and New England Revolution defeated lowly FC Cincinnati 2-0.

Josef Martinez continued his prolific form in a resounding win for Atlanta United, while Jozy Altidore scored a stunning goal for Toronto.

Martinez netted a brace as defending champions Atlanta crushed Houston Dynamo 5-0 in MLS on Wednesday.

Darlington Nagbe got the scoring started for the hosts at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before Brandon Vazquez's close-range header.

Martinez's header from a Julian Gressel cross extended Atlanta's lead on the hour-mark before the Venezuelan finished brilliantly again 19 minutes later.

The striker has scored six goals in four games since returning from the Copa America, while Gressel sealed Atlanta's win.

Frank de Boer's men moved into second in the Eastern Conference, sitting three points behind leaders Philadelphia Union.

At BMO Field, Altidore's fine goal led Toronto to a 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls.

Altidore produced a brilliant flick from a Tsubasa Endoh cross to give the hosts the lead before Alejandro Pozuelo's penalty.

Tom Barlow pulled a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 63rd minute, but Ashtone Morgan's strike helped lift Toronto into sixth in the east.

Elsewhere, New England Revolution hammered Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 and Columbus Crew twice came from behind to salvage a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Chicago Fire.

Daniel Royer guided New York Red Bulls to an MLS derby win on Sunday, while Seattle Sounders edged Atlanta United.

The Red Bulls came from behind to overcome New York City 2-1 in the Hudson River Derby.

City took a seventh-minute lead at Red Bull Arena, Heber getting on the end of Anton Tinnerholm's cross from the right to open the scoring.

However, the hosts drew level on the stroke of half-time as Royer put a penalty into the top corner.

Royer also scored what proved to be the winner on the hour-mark, expertly guiding a header into the bottom corner from Cristian Casseres Jr.'s cross.

The Red Bulls jumped into third in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of sixth-placed New York City.

In Seattle, the Sounders recorded a 2-1 win over defending champions Atlanta at CenturyLink Field.

Raul Ruidiaz scored a sensational opener, taking down a pass from Cristian Roldan with his chest, chipping a defender and firing home.

Josef Martinez's powerful header brought Atlanta level in the 65th minute, but Harrison Shipp netted the winner for Seattle.

The result moved the Sounders into second in the Western Conference, while Atlanta are fourth in the east.

High-flying Los Angeles FC eased past Sporting Kansas City 5-1 in MLS, while Chicago Fire routed 10-man Atlanta United on Wednesday.

There were no surprises in Kansas City, where Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC scored four second-half goals to complete a crushing victory midweek.

LAFC led 1-0 at half-time through Christian Ramirez's 28th-minute opener and the visitors put Sporting KC to the sword after the break at Children's Mercy Park.

Diego Rossi doubled the lead five minutes into the second half before Carlos Vela made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute, with Rodolfo Zelaya restoring LAFC's three-goal advantage after Yohan Croizet pulled one back for the hosts – who had an 82nd-minute penalty saved by Pablo Sisniega.

LAFC – nine points clear in the Western Conference – added some gloss to the scoreline via Mohamed El Monir in stoppage time as Bob Bradley's side made it nine wins in 10 games.

MLS champions Atlanta were humbled 5-1 by Chicago after playing the remaining 79 minutes with 10 men.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was sent off for a handball in the 11th minute as Atlanta already trailed the Fire 2-0 in Chicago.

And Frank de Boer's men were no match for the Fire, who added another three goals before half-time via Nicolas Gaitan, Charles Sapong and Fabian Herbers.

Brandon Vazquez converted a penalty approaching the hour mark to pull a goal back for Atlanta, who are fourth in the Eastern Conference, while the Fire are eighth and a point adrift of the play-off places.

Elsewhere, New York City extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games in all competitions by beating Seattle Sounders 3-0, Houston Dynamo snapped their losing run with a 4-0 drubbing of New York Red Bulls, Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union were 3-1 winners over Orlando City, Minnesota United trumped San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 and Real Salt Lake edged Columbus Crew 1-0.

LA Galaxy were well beaten in the California Clasico in MLS on Saturday, while Minnesota United thrashed Cincinnati 7-1.

Looking to capitalise on Los Angeles FC's shock loss to the Colorado Rapids, Galaxy went down to the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 at Stanford Stadium.

Valeri Qazaishvili's 20-yard strike gave San Jose an 11th-minute lead and they sealed their win late on.

Shea Salinas doubled the lead with eight minutes remaining and Tommy Thompson's individual effort secured three points.

The result left Galaxy six points adrift of Western Conference leaders LAFC, while the Earthquakes jumped to fifth.

At Allianz Field, Minnesota United crushed Cincinnati 7-1.

The hosts struck four times in the first half through Ike Opara, Hassani Dotson, Ethan Finlay and Angelo Rodriguez.

They added three more goals in the final 20 minutes, including Opara completing his brace, in a thrashing of the Eastern Conference's bottom team.

Elsewhere, Justin Meram's brace lifted Atlanta United to a 2-1 win over Montreal Impact.

DC United closed the gap to Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union despite needing a 92nd-minute penalty from Wayne Rooney to draw 1-1 at home to Toronto.

DC are within a point of Philadelphia, who suffered a 4-2 loss to New York City at Yankee Stadium.

Nani set up both goals in Orlando City's 2-0 win over Columbus Crew, Sam Johnson netted a brace in Real Salt Lake's 2-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution edged Houston Dynamo 2-1.

Kelvin Leerdam's 96th-minute goal saw the Seattle Sounders overcome the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0.

Toronto upset Atlanta United in an MLS thriller on Wednesday, while Wayne Rooney's incredible goal was enough for DC United.

Alejandro Pozuelo's 94th-minute penalty lifted Toronto to a 3-2 victory over Atlanta at BMO Field in Ontario.

Toronto had opened the scoring inside 30 seconds through Tsubasa Endoh, but they found themselves behind midway through the first half.

Julian Gressel's finish from an angle followed Pity Martinez's 17th-minute spot-kick to put Atlanta ahead.

The wild first half continued when Pozuelo brought Toronto level, heading in a Jacob Shaffelburg cross from the left.

And Greg Vanney's Toronto ended an eight-match winless run in dramatic fashion.

Pozuelo put away a penalty in the 94th minute but there was more to come, a spot-kick awarded to Atlanta following a VAR review after the final whistle.

However, Martinez blazed the penalty over the crossbar, Toronto's win lifting them into seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta are fourth, but they lost ground to the three teams above them in Philadelphia Union, Montreal Impact and DC United.

Rooney's moment of brilliance was enough for DC as the forward scored from well inside his own half in a 1-0 win over Orlando City.

Philadelphia hold a two-point lead at the top but played out a 1-1 draw with New England Revolution, while Montreal edged the Portland Timbers 2-1.

Dallas were pegged back late to draw 2-2 at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps and the San Jose Earthquakes recorded a 2-0 win over Houston Dynamo.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have both missed out on the MLS mid-season Team of the Year.

LA Galaxy star Ibrahimovic has netted 11 league goals so far this term, while Rooney has scored eight times for DC United.

Neither have made the cut, however, in the Opta-powered team of the season so far.

Carlos Vela and Ezequiel Barco are the headline acts in the XI, but who else has been included?

Goalkeeper – Bill Hamid (DC United)

Bill Hamid's return to MLS and DC United has gone as well as – if not better than – anyone could have hoped. Among goalkeepers with eight or more appearances this season, he leads the league in save percentage (78.8 per cent), is second in saves per game (four) and clean sheets (seven). He is also tied for third in average goals against (1.1) and fourth in goals prevented (3.9).


Right-back – Raymon Gaddis (Philadelphia Union)

A member of the surprising Philadelphia Union, 29-year-old Gaddis has started all 17 of his team's matches and played a total of 1,466 minutes – only five outfield players have more. He is one of 12 defenders to have played more than 1,350 minutes this season and one of just four of those players to not make a single mistake leading to a shot.


Centre-back – Erik Godoy (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Switching to MLS has not been much of an issue for the 25-year-old Argentinian centre-back, who has thrived in the middle of Vancouver's defence. He is one of 19 defenders to have been dribbled past three times or fewer (minimum of 1,000 minutes played), is tied for third in blocked shots (16) and tied for fifth in clearances (70).


Centre-back – Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez (Atlanta United)

The 27-year-old Argentinian has been a stalwart member of Atlanta's backline since his debut, and 2019 has been no different. He has been a part of all of the Five Stripes' MLS-leading eight clean sheets and leads all defenders with 139 possessions won. He is also one of 15 players with an aerial success of 66 per cent or better (from a minimum of 45 aerial duels).


Left-back – Ali Adnan (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Adnan's attacking ability from the back has been critical for Vancouver in 2019. He is one of only three defenders to have completed 20 dribbles and create 10 or more chances this term. On top of that, he is one of four defenders with 100 or more duels won, and the Whitecaps concede more than double the amount of goals per 90 minutes with him off the pitch (0.9 goals conceded per 90 with Adnan on the field, 2.1 per 90 without him).


Central midfield – Jonathan dos Santos (Los Angeles Galaxy)

The Mexico international has become arguably the most intimidating midfield force in MLS this year. He has won a league-best 155 possessions and has 94 tackles and interceptions – no other player has more than 75. Look no further than the club's numbers with Dos Santos on the pitch for his value to the Galaxy. They average 1.4 goals and one conceded per 90 minutes with him playing. By comparison, they score 0.5 goals and let in 2.1 per match without the Mexican.


Central midfield – Eduard Atuesta (Los Angeles FC)

While Carlos Vela gets most of the plaudits for LAFC's success, midfielder Eduard Atuesta has played a vital role linking the offence and defence together. He is the only player averaging more than 100 touches per game (101, to be exact) and is one of two players with more than 150 possessions won. He also has impressive passing statistics, with an overall accuracy of 87.5 per cent and 75.8 per cent in the final third.


Right attacking midfield – Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC)

The easy decision for mid-season MVP, Vela leads MLS in goals with 16 (five more than any other player), assists (10), shots (87 – 26 more than the next best), shots on target (35) and minutes per goal among players with five or more goals. The only question at this point is; how many records will the Mexico international break this year?


Central attacking midfield – Carles Gil (New England Revolution)

The club's lone designated player has lived up to the billing during his first year in New England. He has had a hand in just under half of the Revolution's goals this year (four goals and four assists) and has been an effective pest in the final third, where he has won possession 31 times – eight more than any other MLS player.


Left attacking midfield – Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United)

Stepping out of the shadow of Miguel Almiron, the 20-year-old has four goals and one assist in eight appearances this year and was coming into his own before leaving for the Under-20 World Cup. He is one of eight players averaging at least three chances created per 90 minutes (3.1) and is one of 12 players to have an xG [expected goals] record of at least two (2.4, tied with Vela for sixth best).


Striker – Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders)

The 28-year-old Peruvian is enjoying his first full season in Seattle, scoring six goals in 10 appearances this year. He boasts a 35.3 per cent shot conversion rate (the second highest among players with six or more goals) and is scoring once every 119 minutes, record bettered by only three players who have netted at least six times. It does not hurt that 20.3 per cent of his touches have come inside the opponent's box this season, the second highest in the league.

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