FT: New York City 1, Atlanta United 1. This will be a bitterly frustrating draw for the Pigeons. They outshot Atlanta 23-6, and were by far the better team for the majority of the game. But Brad Guzan made 10 saves, and Atlanta played defense ferociously in the second half, especially after taking the lead in the 48th minute.
We don’t know if Vieira will be the coach when New York City returns to the field in two weeks. But the challenges facing this team are a little broader. Basically, other than David Villa, the team lacks someone who can finish. On top of that, they seem to lack a secondary plan for when teams bunker up. Even at the tail end, when the team should’ve been playing more vertically, they were content to pass the ball.
So this is how things finish: same as when they began. New York City trail Atlanta by two points in the Supporters’ Shield race. But it’s a long season, and speaking of long: we’re set for a long two-week break for the group stage of the World Cup.
One last thing: as David Villa departed the field, he shook hands with Patrick Vieira and said, “Thank you for everything”. Might he know something no one else does?
90’: There will be four minutes of added time, at a minimum.
84’: Just like in the game’s first minutes, New York City are laying siege to Atlanta’s goal. The difference is that Atlanta are now tired. New York City have their 12th corner coming up.
76’: GOOOOOOAAALLLLL ALEXANDER CALLENS!!! IT’S ALL SQUARE!!! Villa gets the first header from the set-piece, but it’s Callens who nudges home the goal as the header seems bound away.
71’: Substitution -- Jon Lewis on for Ben Lewis
68’: Here’s the problem for New York City — they don’t have the depth or variety of tactics to switch up a team like Atlanta. If you look at their bench, who’s the kind of game-changing player they can bring in? Jon Lewis? He’s good, but I think NYC fans are reposing a ton of aspirations and fantasy on him. And forget the formation; New York City are unable to break down a now-bunkered Atlanta.
65’: New York City are throwing everything at Atlanta’s defense and Brad Guzan. They desperately want an equalizer. But nothing’s come of it.
60’: OH WHAT A CHANCE BY VILLA! And he hits it right at Guzan. It’s been that kind of day for the Pigeons.
57’: Substitution -- Jesus Medina on for Ebenezer Ofori. Have to say, this replacement doesn’t make much sense to me. Ofori’s been quietly excellent in a holding/defensive role, providing needed teeth in defense. Medina can play in the midfield, but he’s been mostly deployed up top as a winger.
54’: OFF THE POST. Villa had the chance, teed it up, but it clangs off. The Pigeons simply cannot buy a goal here.
48’: Goal, Josef Martinez. It’s a fantastic header by Martinez, who finds himself wide open. Just like in their game earlier this year, Atlanta’s struck first. Now New York City will have to work to draw level, never mind win.
HT: An excellent, taut game from both teams. It’s scoreless at the half, but it’s not for lack of trying. Especially from New York City, who’ll rightfully feel aggrieved that they haven’t broken through to score. They’ve had the vast majority of chances in the first half; but goalkeeper Brad Guzan proved equal to the task time and time again.
Tata Martino will make tactical adjustments at the break; the question is, will Vieira? We’ll see.
41’: This game is finely poised, especially if you’re a neutral fan. New York City have been thisclose to scoring on multiple occasions. Guzan’s just been superlative in goal for Atlanta. Johnson has done excellent work as well; it’s just that Atlanta haven’t really gotten going in the final third.
35’: Ben Sweat with the needless foul just outside the penalty area. He gets the yellow for his troubles. Atlanta can’t do anything with it, though, and the danger passes.
30’: As expected, Atlanta have clawed back their way into the game. New York City have more chances, but this is an exciting scoreless match. If Atlanta take the lead, the Pigeons will bitterly rue not scoring early on. That said: Guzan is doing magnificent work in goal for Atlanta.
25’: That counter from Atlanta is an example of how dangerous they can be. It was fractionally offside, but if that shot had been on-target and onside, Sean Johnson would’ve been hard-pressed to make the save.
20’: The chances — and the misses — are piling up for New York City. You’d really like for the Pigeons to capitalize on one or two of these chances, because Atlanta is too good a team to remain rocked back on their heels like they have been. Tata Martino will make adjustments, so you really don’t want this to go to waste.
15’: That last sequence is emblematic of why so many are frustrated with Jo Inge Berget. He does an excellent job of blazing clear from his marker and getting to the ball. Then he takes one touch too many, and instead of delivering the ball to David Villa or shooting, he gets dispossessed.
13’: It’s still mostly one-way traffic here in the Bronx. Atlanta are struggling to adapt their playing to the narrow confines of Yankee Stadium. New York City is 7-1-1 when scoring first; their only loss coming in the same Houston game where they lost Herrera.
6’: Some good play from New York City to open up the game. By the way: Miguel Almiron landed awkwardly on his left shoulder early on. He was in quite some pain, but is playing on. Might be something to keep an eye on.
KO: We’re off! Nothing against playing three at the back, but playing Alexander Ring as a center-half when you’re missing Herrera makes no sense to me.
If this is Vieira’s last match in charge, he’s going out with the peculiar 3-4-1-2/3-4-3 formation he’s resorted to in his last few matches.
New York City Starting XI: Johnson, Callens, Ring, Ibeagha, Sweat, Ofori, Moralez, Tinnerholm, Berget, Villa (c), Tajouri-Shradi
Bench: Stuver, Abdul-Salaam, Chanot, Lewis, McNamara, Medina
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: MF Yangel Herrera
- International Duty: D Ronald Matarrita, MF Rodney Wallace
- Injury: OUT: MF Yangel Herrera (ankle)
Atlanta United Starting XI: Guzan, Gonzalez Pirez, Parkhurst (c), Escobar, Ambrose, Larentowicz, Nagbe, Gressel, Almiron, Barco, Martinez
Bench: Kann, Kratz, Robinson, Vazquez, Wheeler-Omiunu, Williams, Zizzo
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: MF - Miguel Almiron, MF - Chris McCann, MF - Jeff Larentowicz
- International Duty: MF Yoshi Yotun, D Amro Tarek
- Injury: OUT: D - Greg Garza (shoulder surgery), MF - Chris McCann (lower left extremity); QUESTIONABLE: F - Hector Villalba (right knee injury)
Referees: Robert Sibiga (referee); Eric Weisbrod, CJ Morgante (assistant referees); Silviu Petrescu (4th official); Edvin Jurisevic (VAR)
How To Watch
Match date & time: June 9th, 2018, 12:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, TX
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go
Local radio: WNYE 91.5 FM — English (Crooks, Wingert); WADO 1280 AM — Spanish (Abramowitz, Judas).
All-time series: This is low-key one of the best burgeoning rivalries in Major League Soccer. Atlanta United and New York City have played three games; the series is dead even. Both teams have won one, and their last meeting was a pulsating, tension-wracked draw in Atlanta. It ended 2-2, but that game had it all: a disallowed goal, comebacks, you name it.
Atlanta’s last visit to the Bronx didn’t go well; the Pigeons won that game 3-1. New York City will be looking to reprise that performance. They are a perfect 6-0-0 at home this season, with four clean sheets to boot. Not only that, they’ve outscored opponents 18-2 at home, and have allowed opponents to score multiple goals at home just once in 11 games. A victory today would move New York City ahead of Atlanta and on top of the Supporter Shield standings.
If rumors are correct, that would be a fantastic valedictory for manager Patrick Vieira. While he’s denied reports of his impending departure to manage French club OGC Nice in the past, Vieira was notably non-committal this week when asked about it by reporters. Vieira would say only that he was focused on today’s game against Atlanta, and refused to comment further.
If he were to depart now, that would allow a potential interim manager — whomever they might be — time to acquaint themselves with the squad. Vieira would indubitably leave the team far better than when he found it.
But that’s for another time; it’s given to none of us to know what the future might hold. What we do know is that this promises to be a delightful encounter for MLS fans of two teams who are likely to be post-season contenders.
This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.