Atlanta United clinches playoff spot in debut campaign

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Jason Getz
The MLS expansion side has become the first team since the Seattle Sounders to make the playoffs in its first season

Atlanta United’s debut season just keeps getting better and better.

Julian Gressel had the opener while Josef Martinez scored his 18th of the season, and ninth in six games, as the MLS expansion side defeated the Philadelphia Union 3-0 Wednesday evening. Jacob Peterson added the third for the Five Stripes.

And Atlanta delivered more than just a win for their home fans to celebrate as the victory means the club has clinched a spot in the MLS postseason.

The playoff appearance makes Atlanta the fourth MLS expansion team to make the postseason in its debut campaign and first since the Seattle Sounders in 2009.

Since the Sounders, six teams have tried and failed to make the postseason in their first season in MLS.

The victory was Atlanta’s fifth in sixth games as the team remains unbeaten at its new home of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Overall, the team is unbeaten in seven straight.

Sitting on 52 points, Atlanta is third in the Eastern Conference at 15-8-7, three back of New York City FC, which defeated the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, for a bye through the opening round. Atlanta also has a game in hand on NYCFC.

Atlanta goes on the road to face the New England Revolution on Saturday.

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