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Watch: Josef Martinez goal sets MLS record, Atlanta beats Red Bulls 3-0

Josef Martinez found a breakthrough goal Sunday night to give Atlanta United a 1-0 lead over the New York Red Bulls in the 32nd minute of the first leg of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference final.

The goal was Martinez’ 34th of 2018, breaking the league record for goals in a single season. Roy Lassiter set the previous record of 33 goals in 1996.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium erupted when Martinez found space in the box between two defenders, received a long ball from teammate Jeff Larentowicz and controlled it briefly before firing past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Bradley Wright-Phillips nearly equalized for the Red Bulls in the 53rd minute, but the goal was waved off following video review. And then in the 71st minute, Atlanta’s Franco Escobar extended the home side’s lead to 2-0.

Atlanta coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino replaced Martinez with Hector Villalba five minutes after the second goal.

Villalba punctuated Atlanta’s victory with a stoppage-time goal in the 95th minute for a 3-0 final score, a massive lead entering Thursday night’s second leg at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

The match kicked off just past 5 p.m. ET. See the full match recap and highlights here, and catch up on all the MLS Cup Playoffs results here. You can also review match stats

The Portland Timbers host Sporting Kansas City later at 7:30 p.m. ET in the first leg of the Western Conference final.

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