Atlanta United fell to New York Red Bulls 1-0 Sunday afternoon in front of 18,495 fans at Red Bull Arena. Playing in its fifth match in 15 days, Atlanta was unable to find an equalizer after allowing a 65′ minute goal to Tom Barlow. The goal broke Atlanta’s consecutive shutout streak of 520 minutes that finished 8th all-time in MLS history.
“We created chances, but I thought we could have created more because a lot of times, the last pass wasn’t the right speed or something like that,” Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer said. “I think that’s mental exhaustion a little bit and also physical. Hopefully we can do that better on Friday, but still, I’m proud of the team that they want it; that they fought for the last second, and again, it’s a pity because if there was a time to get three points out of here, it was today.”
The Red Bulls were sent to 10 men in the 35′ minute when Tim Parker was sent off for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity when he tackled Josef Martinez near the edge of the box. Julian Gressel played a ball forward that deflected off Parker and put Martinez a step ahead with only Luis Robles to beat, but Parker pulled down Martinez from behind before the play unfolded.
In the 65′ minute, Tom Barlow put New York ahead with his first career MLS goal. Daniel Royer sent in a cross for the 23-year-old forward, who headed it to the far post to snap Atlanta’s scoreless streak at 520 minutes.
In the dying embers of the match, there was a spat between Atlanta’s Tito Villalba and New York’s Kemar Lawrence. Lawrence took Villalba to ground and flexed on him for good measure. When the two stood face-to-face, Lawrence again flexed in front of him while Villalba responded with his arms up (as if he were holding a trophy), reminding the Red Bulls defender that Atlanta hoisted a trophy in that very spot a year ago. The spat ran through the final whistle and sidelines eventually cleared. If there was ever doubt this was a rivalry, doubt no more.
Shots: 12-6 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 2-2
Corner kicks: 10-1 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 9-6 New York
Clearances: 36-4 New York
Offside: 2-0 Atlanta
Possession: 67-33 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 81-66 Atlanta
A week ago, I noted that fans should be seeing more of Dion Pereira. Tonight, the moment he stepped on the pitch, he made an immediate impact and owned the left flank. This man has earned the right to be on the pitch and deserves more minutes.
De Boer has not been taking advantage of Atlanta’s massive depth, which should’ve happened already when you’re playing your fifth match in 15 days. Playing a possession game with a squad of attackers can be risky. Tonight’s match, for example, shows that when you live by possession (67%-33% Atlanta) you stand a good chance of dying by possession (Shots on Target: 2, Goals: 0).
Atlanta United (6-4-2, 20 points) returns to action Friday, May 24 against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium (9:00 p.m. EST, UniMas, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD