AAP Soccer

Atlanta United claim maiden MLS Cup

By AAP Newswire

Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar scored the goals as Atlanta United gave the city a first sporting title since 1995 with a 2-0 victory over Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup final.

Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history - 73,019 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium - United captured the crown in just their second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak.

Owner Arthur Blank got to lift the trophy, less than three years after his other team, the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse.

Martinez, capping the greatest goal-scoring season in MLS history, put United ahead in 39th minute.

Escobar added an insurance goal in the 54th, turning the final minutes into a raucous, flag-waving celebration and sending coach Tata Martino out with a title in his final game as coach.

He's reportedly headed to Mexico to take over as national coach.

Atlanta revelled in their first title since the Braves won the 1995 World Series - a gap of 8,442 days, for those counting.

After a surprising run in the playoffs, the Timbers were denied their second MLS championship after winning the cup in 2015.