ATLANTA, GA — For the first time in more than 20 years, downtown Atlanta will be the site of a victory parade on Monday. Atlanta United FC became the city’s first major league championship team of the 21st century on Saturday with its 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers for the MLS Cup championship.
The parade kicks off at 10 am at the corner of Baker and Peachtree streets, next to SunTrust Plaza. The open-top bus parade will travel down Baker Street, Marietta Street, and Andrew Young International Boulevard. The parade route will end at The Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A celebration with the players and coaches, as well as Arthur and Angie Blank, will begin at noon.
The largest crowd in MLS history, 73,091, saw the Five Stripes earn the MLS Cup in only its second season of existence.
After a tense opening few minutes, it was Miguel Almirón who nearly took the lead. Julian Gressel fought through pressure to find Greg Garza open down the left wing, whose cross fell to the feet of the Paraguayan #10. Almirón made a strong connection with the ball and it was headed for the net, only to be kept out by a fingertip save.
But just before halftime, Atlanta United showed they wouldn’t be denied. It all started with a tackle, as Michael Parkhurst put incredible pressure on the Timbers attacker, slide tackling the ball into the path of Josef Martinez behind the Timbers defense. The 2018 MVP was lethal from there, putting the goalkeeper on the ground and rounding him to rifle home the opener.
The eventual match-winner was a massive moment for sure, but there was an equally crucial play just moments later on the others side of the pitch. After a dominant spell in the first half, the Timbers’ lethal counter-attack almost created a goal out of nothing with Jeremy Ebobisse getting his head to a point-blank effort. But Brad Guzan came up with a massive save just before the halftime whistle to preserve Atlanta United’s lead heading into the break.
Coming into the second half, it was still a precarious one-goal lead for the Five Stripes. But roared on by Atlanta’s unbelievable atmosphere they all but shut the door minutes into the second half. It came off a set piece, with Josef Martinez getting a glancing header on the cross and Franco Escobar sliding home the second goal of the night to give Atlanta a crucial insurance goal.
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Image Atlanta United