Match Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United Thursday, June 30 at 8 p.m. ET

Atlanta United plays the first of two straight matches against New York clubs on Thursday when it takes on New York Red Bulls. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET. 

Atlanta United is coming off a tough 2-1 loss to Toronto FC, but it doesn’t have much time to linger on the result. The club embarks on an extended road trip to the New York metropolitan area to face the Red Bulls for a midweek match on Thursday followed up with a contest against current MLS Cup champion New York City FC on Sunday, July 3. 

The team heads into the road trip without one of its most durable players. Defender Brooks Lennon suffered an injury during warmups in Toronto, and the club announced this week the defender will miss approximately 6-8 weeks.

However, the team will be traveling with some soon-to-be reinforcements. Although they won’t be able to play until the July 7 transfer window, recent signees Raúl Gudiño and Juanjo Purata are joining the club on the trip. Striker Ronaldo Cisneros is also with the team after the club extended his loan through the end of the 2022 season.

“They’re going to travel with the team, just to make sure they train a little bit more with the team and the cohesion and then they are together,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “We’re bringing a big group of players to New York and hope that can also help with the mood of the team.” 

Matchday Conditions  

The conditions at Red Bull Arena are expected to be hot and sunny. The forecast at kickoff is around 50 percent humidity with a high temperature around 82 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Match-Preview-Red-Bull-Arena

From MetroStars To Red Bulls 

New York Red Bulls is an Eastern Conference club based in the metropolitan area of New York. The club was founded in 1994 under the name New York/New Jersey MetroStars and began play in the league’s inaugural season in 1996. The club was sold and rebranded to its current name in 2006. 

Red Bulls has won the Supporters’ Shield three times (2013, 2015, 2018) and reached the MLS Cup Final in 2008. 

  • Home venue: Red Bull Arena, a soccer-specific stadium in Harrison, New Jersey with a surface made with Kentucky bluegrass. 
  • Main colors: red, white, yellow.  
  • Head coach: Gerhard Struber 

Looking For First Win 

Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls have met 12 times in MLS play. Red Bulls own the series 6-2-4.  

Atlanta United has never beaten the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in the MLS regular season. In the last four meetings between the sides, New York has kept a clean sheet. On Thursday, Atlanta United will be looking to score the first MLS goal in club history at Red Bull Arena. 

"We have the type of players that enjoy connecting passes, enjoy having possession, enjoy attacking continuously,” Pineda said. “And that’s how we find joy. By playing forward and trying to attack and attacking more than the opponent. We find joy in that.” 

The last meeting between the two sides was late in 2021 and resulted in a 0-0 draw. It was a well-earned point on the road for Atlanta United while both clubs were making a playoff push, so Atlanta United will hope to find similar success this time around.

ATLvsNYRB_Last-Meeting-2021

Handling New York’s High Press 

Both teams enter Thursday’s matchup coming off losses. Atlanta United is currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference table with 19 points (5-6-4). New York has just two more wins than Atlanta, but is higher up in the table, currently holding the fourth place spot with 26 points (7-5-5). 

The Red Bulls are known for their high press, which Atlanta must be prepared to face. In their last three home matches, the Red Bulls have scored nine goals and netted multiple goals in all three matches.  

However, the Red Bulls are facing stronger opposition than they did last season. They’ve lost three of their last five MLS matches this season. A season ago, they lost just two of their first 12 league games. On the other side, Atlanta United will be looking to earn points on the road. The 5-Stripes have collected just one point in their last five away matches in MLS. 

"We will try to be prepared for this game and try to have some different ways to build up, different ways to create chances and let’s see if that works,” Pineda said.

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
New York Red Bulls
Atlanta United
Possession
44.4% (25th)
59.1% (3rd)
Pass Percentage
70% (28th)
85.4% (1st)
Interceptions
196 (T-2nd)
129 (24th)
Shots On Target
88 (3rd)
83 (4th)

Players To Watch 

Luiz Araújo – The winger has been on a tear for Atlanta United lately. He’s been involved in all of Atlanta’s last three goals. Additionally, in the club’s last six MLS matches, he’s scored three goals himself, including Atlanta’s sole goal on Saturday in Toronto. The Brazilian also tallied an assist to go along with his impressive curling goal, which led Atlanta United to three points against Inter Miami on June 19.

Luiz-Araujo-Training_Match-Preview

Lewis Morgan – The Scottish midfielder leads New York Red Bulls in scoring this season with seven goals and two assists. Even more, he plays well against Atlanta United. He scored his first career MLS goal against the 5-Stripes back in 2020 when he played for Inter Miami.  

Other Tidbits

  • Atlanta ranks first in MLS in passing accuracy (85.4%) and dribble success rate (56.99%).
  • Atlanta United will be wearing the BLVCK Kit on Thursday.