Josef Martinez scored his second brace in four days as Atlanta United recorded a 2-0 win over the visiting Chicago Fire on Saturday.
After collecting two scores in stoppage time during Atlanta's 3-0 win over Minnesota United on Wednesday, Martinez delivered another multi-goal effort to give his side its seventh win in nine games.
In the 12th minute, the star striker took a pass from attacking midfielder Pity Martinez and buried it for the game's opening score.
Chicago (4-6-6, 18 points) outshot Atlanta (8-5-2, 26 points) in the first half and had more clear offensive chances, including close-range attempts from CJ Sapong and Francisco Calvo. But it was Josef Martinez who put the Fire into a deeper hole, taking a pass from just beyond midfield in the 43rd minute and then outpacing Dax McCarty to fire a shot into the net.
Martinez scored a league-record 31 goals en route to winning MLS MVP and Golden Boot honors in 2018. In the wake of such production, Martinez's relatively slow start of two goals in his first seven matches this season was seen as cause for concern, particularly after Atlanta went 1-3-2 over its first six games.
After six scores in his past five matches, however, Martinez appears to be back in form. Martinez has 10 goals in 15 games this season.
Brad Guzan made three saves to earn his eighth clean sheet of the season.
The loss ensures that Chicago will enter the international break outside of an Eastern Conference playoff position.
The Fire are 0-5-3 on the road this season, extending an away-game slump that has lasted for more than a year. Chicago is winless (0-13-6) in its past 19 regular-season road games and hasn't won away from home since May 26, 2018.
Franco Escobar received a yellow card in the 33rd minute and will miss Atlanta United's next game on suspension due to caution accumulation.