NYRB entered the final home game vs. Atlanta United of the regular season. They knew that a victory over Atlanta United would win them a 12th consecutive season of playoff spots.
NYRB vs. Atlanta United
NYRB scored a huge three-pointer over the weekend. They won against Montreal CF 1-0 in stoppage time. Meanwhile, Atlanta drew 1-1 with Toronto two minutes before the end of the game. In their last two victories, the New York team was late but completed the task. So they are about to return to the playoffs.
Gerhard Struber saw his team start slowly on Saturday. But they performed well in the assembly and transition in the second half, winning their third consecutive home game. In the end, even though they only had a 36% possession rate, it was a well-deserved victory for the Red Bulls. They did not bring much good performance to Montreal, limiting them to one shot. This means three consecutive Red Bull Arena clean sheets.
Throughout the season, they have been committed to building a high-pressure system designed to create turnovers. But they also made every effort to prevent opponents from fouling, conceding 18 free kicks on Saturday and 69 games in their previous five games. On the defensive side, they have proven to be highly compact and even more challenging, allowing one or fewer goals in every game over the past three months because they are tied with Nashville SC in the Eastern Conference.
The minimum number of goals (32). In the past four games, they have had three games with a ball possession rate of less than 50%, but they are very efficient without the ball, giving their opponents very little time and space, and making full use of their counterattacks. How Atlanta United was able to reverse the bleak early season is commendable. But they did not make themselves easy.
Help from outside
On Saturday, all went well for the Five Stripes. Washington United and Montreal lost and Orlando City’s draw, but they failed to handle their business and let the single-goal lead in a game they could have won. The advantage disappears. If they maintain the advantage, they will have a playoff spot. If they miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season, Atlanta can only blame themselves for wasting 18 points in winning positions this year. The Five Stripes entered this game with a three-point advantage over the playoff line.
Their last two regular-season games will be played on the away field. This area has been a troublesome point for them in 2021 and this year as the away team. Only won 3 times. Gonzalo Pineda knew that his players were too complacent after leading 1-0 in the 15th minute at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. But despite the many opportunities in the second half, they failed to delay the game.
If Atlanta leads Toronto and New York City football clubs 1-0 at home last month, not only will they officially enter the playoffs now, but they may also be ranked third and line up for the home playoffs.
New York Red Bulls possible starting lineup:
Coronel; Edwards, Nealis, Reyes; Duncan, Yearwood, Davis, Amaya; Casseres, Fabio, Klimala
Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Guzan; Robinson, Franco, Walkes; Lennon, Mulraney, Moreno, Bello; Araujo, Barco, Martinez
Credits: sportsmole.co.uk; NYRB Official Website
Credits featured image: Daniel, Flickr