“It was a hard point and unfair, it’s probably the first point we’ve taken without deserving it.” – Atlanta United Manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Atlanta United drew NYCFC 1-1 on Saturday afternoon to become the first road team to take points from Yankee Stadium in 2018. Josef Martinez scored his league-leading 13th goal of the season while goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a club-record nine saves to help keep Atlanta on top of the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of NYCFC.
Although the match was scoreless through the first half, Atlanta wasted little time after the intermission to break the tie. In the 48′, Julian Gressel corralled a pass from Darlington Nagbe near midfield, and after a couple of dribbles, sent an early cross into the box just over the head of Sebastien Ibeagha that Martinez powerfully headed into the right corner. It was Gressel’s fifth assist of the season.
Guzan made a series of crucial saves over the next half hour, but NYCFC found a breakthrough in the 77′ from Alexander Callens. Off of a Jesus Medina corner kick, David Villa headed the initial ball toward the far post where Callens found space to make a diving attempt at the ball, ultimately leaving Guzan little chance to make a save.
My Man of the Match goes to Brad Guzan. With a few strokes of luck and a handful of balls ring off the post, they Five Stripes escaped what could’ve been a disaster. Not including those shots off the bar, Guzan came up with some huge saves to keep United in the match. Leandro Gónzalez-Pirez also had an excellent outing and made some clutch clearances.
Atlanta United (9-3-3, 30 points) returns to MLS action against Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday, June 13 (7:30 p.m., FOX Sports South).
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD