Atlanta United defeated Toronto FC 2-0 Saturday night at BMO Field. Luiz Araújo scored his second goal of the season in first-half stoppage time and Marcelino Moreno added his eighth goal of the season in second-half stoppage time to move Atlanta above the playoff line and into fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
After an evenly played opening 20 minutes, Atlanta’s pressure forced a dangerous sequence that resulted in a free kick from after Ifunanyachi Achara was shown a yellow card in the 24th minute. On the ensuing kick, Atlanta registered the first shot on target in the match, as Ezequiel Barco forced a diving save from Alex Bono. Seconds later, Santiago Sosa ripped a right-footed shot that Bono parried away to the corner. Brooks Lennon recovered and sent a cross into the box that ultimately found George Bello, who then sent a left-footed shoot that caromed off a Toronto defender straight into the crossbar.
Just before halftime, Atlanta found the opening goal, with Araújo finishing off a cross from Bello. The play started near midfield with Bello combining with Barco and Marcelino Moreno as Atlanta worked down the left wing. Bello then received a pass in the box, near the end line, and crossed back for Araújo, who was able to get one by Bono.
Atlanta continued to apply pressure early in the second half. Moreno had a good opportunity in the 50th minute after Araújo laid off a pass from a Bello cross but his attempt was wide. Atlanta then forced a turnover on the ensuing goal kick and Araújo nearly scored again, but his attempt was cleared near the goal line by a Toronto defender. Atlanta continued the pressure, with Moreno forcing a diving save from Bono in the 55th minute.
Referee Tim Ford sent off both Toronto’s Auro Jr. and Barco in the 83rd and 84th minutes, forcing both teams to play the remainder of the match with 10 men.
Brad Guzan made a crucial diving save in stoppage time to deny a powerful header from Omar Gonzalez from close range to keep it 1-0.
Moreno sealed the match with Atlanta’s second goal in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time. Alan Franco won the ball in the defensive half and played the ball forward into space for Moreno in transition, who collected it and ran at Kemar Lawrence across the top of the 18-yard box before striking a right-footed shot as he was falling down past Bono and into the far corner of the goal.
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