Atlanta United fell 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef Martínez scored in second-half stoppage time for his 100th goal across MLS regular season and playoffs, but Atlanta couldn’t overcome the two-goal deficit they conceded in the first half.
The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Kyle Duncan delivered a cross from the right side to the center of the box where Cristian Casseres Jr. laid the ball off for Lewis Morgan, who struck it into the left side of the goal.
New York doubled its lead in the 15th minute when John Tolkin took a short corner to Casseres Jr. He immediately returned the ball to the Red Bulls’ Homegrown defender Tolkin, and drove a curling ball into the box that seeped into the bottom left corner.
Atlanta made a pair of changes at halftime, bringing on fullbacks Brooks Lennon and Andrew Gutman in an effort to turn the tides. The home side maintained nearly 80% possession in the second half and continued to pressure New York’s goal.
Shots: 13-12 New York
Shots on target: 5-5
Corner kicks: 6-5 New York
Fouls committed: 15-11 New York
Possession: 73-27 Atlanta
Passing accuracy: 83-60 Atlanta
In stoppage time, the five stripes showed grit, salvaging a lone goal to avoid the shutout. Thiago Almada dribbled by a defender and threaded a ball between a pair of Red Bulls players to find Luiz Araújo at the edge of the half circle. The Brazilian took one touch before sending Martínez into the box where he finished with a low shot to the bottom right corner. Time was not kind to Atlanta and their late-stage heroics were not enough.
Atlanta United’s Brooks Lennon spoke about the playoff race after the match: “I think that a lot of teams that we play are in those playoff spots. From here on out every match is a final for us. We can’t drop points from here on out. Tonight, was very disappointing and we all know that. But we just gotta regroup and get ready for Sunday.”
Atlanta (7-10-8, 29 points) travels to face Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field on Sunday, Aug. 21 (5:30 p.m., FS1, FOX Deportes, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photos: Courtesy of Liragraphy