MLS glory for Atlanta United and former Wigan Athletic star Chris McCann

Chris McCann (Photo credit: Atlanta United FC)
Chris McCann (Photo credit: Atlanta United FC)

Former Wigan Athletic star Chris McCann has written his way into the history books with Atlanta United’s MLS Cup triumph over Portland Timbers.

The 31-year-old and his team-mates have brought the silverware back to Atlanta in only the second year of the club’s existence.

It breaks a 23-year sporting drought for the city, which was apparently ‘cursed’ given the Braves (baseball), the Falcons (American football) and the Hawks (basketball).

McCann, who has recently overcome a thigh injury, appeared off the bench in the 2-0 win over a Portland side skippered by fellow ex-Latic Liam Ridgewell.

He found time to earn himself a booking from referee - and fellow Irishman - Alan Kelly.

Atlanta, playing at home after accruing more points during the regular season than their opponents, were cheered on by 73,019 fans - the largest crowd in the franchise’s history.

Striker Josef Martinez - who last week was voted the league’s MVP for 2018 - emerged as the night’s star man with a goal and assist.

After a slow start from both teams, the match suddenly came to life in the 39th minute when Martinez, who holds the record for the most goals in a single MLS season, found an open net to put the home side ahead.

Jeremy Ebobisse looked like Portland’s biggest threat after an earlier mistake made way for Martinez’s goal, but he was denied the chance to level the match three minutes before the break by an impressive save from Brad Guzan.

Despite trying to pile on the pressure in the second half, the Timbers failed to grab the goal they needed and Atlanta took control from a set-piece in the 54th minute.

Martinez got his head to Miguel Almiron’s free kick, finding Franco Escobar at the far post for a sliding goal and capping off an impressive campaign for the Five Stripes having only joined the league as an expansion team in 2017.