Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Star striker Josef Martinez sniped in a top-shelf score at the near post to help Atlanta United beat the Philadelphia Union and advance to the Eastern Conference finals in the 2019 MLS Cup playoffs.
Martinez's goal came in the 80th minute of the 2-0 triumph Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Midfielder Pity Martinez assisted Julian Gressel's 10th minute score to give Atlanta a first half advantage, before Martinez put the game away late in the second half.
Atlanta collected a Philadelphia turnover to spark their second scoring sequence. Fellow forward Julian Gressel gained possession of the ball before lifting a long pass ahead for Martinez past midfield.
Martinez used a soft touch to bring the ball down before running into the left side of the Philadelphia box. He then used his left foot to strike a shot into the upper left corner of the goal, beating Union keeper Andre Blake from a nearly impossible angle.
"I can't be happy when I missed three goals, but I made the hardest one and missed the easy ones," Martinez told reporters. "We suffered a little bit, but I think the team played better than we did [Wednesday]. Now we've got the opportunity to play in another Eastern Conference final."
Atlanta takes on Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference final at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Atlanta. The winner of that match will face LAFC or the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final Nov. 10.