Josef Martinez extended his MLS-record goal-scoring streak to 12 games, and Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta United remained undefeated all-time against host Orlando City with a fourth consecutive victory overall, 1-0 on Friday night.
Quiet for the first 59 minutes of the match, Martinez took a heel-tapped pass from Ezequiel Barco and drilled the ball home on the hour mark for his 22nd goal of 2019. The reigning MLS Most Valuable Player has totaled 17 goals over his past 12 games.
Though Orlando (9-12-7, 34 points) was quite active in Atlanta's final-third for much of the evening, Martinez was the only one to break through.
For Atlanta United (15-9-3, 48 points), it was enough to win for the sixth time in seven MLS matches and take a three-point lead over the second-place Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta also improved to 7-0-2 in all competitions versus Orlando, which was 2-0-2 in its previous four league contests. Stuck just below the playoff line in the East, the Lions generated 22 shots but went over and around the goal often, never in.
Though the play was rather open in the first half, neither side had anything to show for its chances.
Orlando was the aggressor early and often, with two decent chances from Carlos Ascues in the fifth and seventh minutes. Tesho Akindele then worked his way into the box, only to have his shot saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on 10 minutes.
Shortly after, Lamine Sane's header off a corner for Orlando was sent well over the goal. Ascues, meanwhile, added two more attempts that brought the Orlando supporters to their feet, but nothing to show on the scoresheet.
Atlanta went to work out of the break and began to pressure with its possessions. That's when Martinez joined the fun, and he eventually benefited from Barco's nifty pass on a give-and-go that Orlando goalie Brian Rowe had no chance of saving.
Orlando continued to get its chances with Ascues, Akindele, Nani and Chris Mueller threatening on various levels down the stretch.