Atlanta United bolster playoff hopes with win over Inter Miami

Josef Martinez scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute to lift host Atlanta United to a 2-1 victory over Inter Miami on Wednesday.

Luiz Araujo collected a goal and an assist and Brad Guzan made five saves for Atlanta United (12-9-10, 46 points), who moved into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The top seven teams in the conference make the playoffs.

Gonzalo Higuain converted a penalty kick in the 32nd minute and Nick Marsman finished with six saves for Inter Miami CF (11-16-5, 38 points), who have dropped seven of their past nine matches.

Araujo leveled the contest at 1-1 in the 58th minute when his free kick sailed under the wall and past Marsman for his third goal of the season.

Ezequiel Barco's bid to snap the tie four minutes later caromed off the left post, but Martinez didn't miss to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead in the 73rd minute.

Araujo threaded the needle with a through ball to set up Martinez for his team-leading 11th goal of the season and third versus Inter Miami. Martinez scored in a 1-1 draw against the Herons on May 9 and in a 1-0 win on Sept. 29.

That goal held up as the winner for Atlanta, which extended its home unbeaten streak to six matches (5-0-1).

Higuain squandered a prime opportunity to open the scoring in the eighth minute after he stumbled over the ball while confronting Guzan in a one-on-one chance.

He made good in the 32nd minute, however, after Guzan was whistled for a late challenge on Lewis Morgan in the penalty area. Higuain made no mistake by sending the ball inside the left post for his team-leading 12th goal of the season and second in as many games.

Higuain nearly doubled the advantage off Kelvin Leerdam's cross in the 53rd minute, but Guzan thwarted the opportunity by extending his left arm.