Atlanta United vs New York Red Bulls has been must-watch soccer ever since the first match in club history, and the latest edition was no different. The Five Stripes late comeback looked to secure all three points, but in the end 95 minutes couldn’t separate the sides with a rollercoaster finish ending in a draw and the team sharing the points.
Coming off a tough midweek road loss in Chicago, head coach Frank de Boer shuffled the pack with Leandro González Pirez ruled out with a red card and Josef Martinez back in contention after returning from international duty. The full Starting XI: Brad Guzan (GK), Mikey Ambrose (LB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Miles Robinson (CB), Franco Escobar (RB), Eric Remedi (CM), Darlington Nagbe (CM), Justin Meram (LW), Pity Martinez (CAM), Julian Gressel (RW), Josef Martinez (ST).
Atlanta United jumped on the board early with yet another piece of magic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium from Justin Meram. Pity Martinez started it, bursting into space in midfield and feeding Meram down the wing. Meram’s took out his defender with one silky touch, cutting inside and firing past Luis Robles inside the near post to take the lead in the 11th minute.
But the back-and-forth match had many twists left to come, with the next coming just before halftime. It came off a turnover in the defensive third from Atlanta United, with the Red Bulls pouncing on the counterattack and Daniel Royer firing in the equalizer just before halftime. The would then take the lead in the 60th minute, with another counter-attack coming off a turnover and Brian White hitting home the second of the night to take the lead.
But the Five Stripes showed spirit to fight back, with the packed house of 17s roaring them on in a way that only they can. The comeback started in the 79th minute, with Josef Martinez battling in the box to get on the end of a header, only to be brought down for a foul by the Red Bulls defender. He was ice cold from the spot, sending Robles the wrong way and firing into the bottom corner with a ruthless finish.
It seemed the match would end 2-2 as the clock ticked past the 90th minute, but there was plenty of drama left in stoppage time. It started with another goal from Josef Martinez, who was sensational in his return to the starting lineup. Franco Escobar lofted a cross into the box and Josef Martinez beat two players in the air and smacked a header off the underside of the bar, past Luis Robles and in.
But there was another twist in the final moments, with Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring an equalizer just moments later to bring the final score to 3-3. After 90 minutes and haymaker after haymaker, the teams couldn’t be separated and both left Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a point.
The result pulled Atlanta United up into third place in the Eastern Conference at the time of the final whistle with two matches in hand on the leaders. They will be back in action in the Open Cup on Wednesday against Saint Louis FC at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. Tickets to that match are still available, so make sure you’ve reserved yours here.