It’s a quick turnaround for Atlanta United as they are right back in action on Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the New York Red Bulls. Coming off an entertaining 2-2 draw at Cincinnati, the 5-Stripes are looking to extend their current unbeaten run to four matches. Sitting just four points below the playoff line, every match has an extra sense of urgency. New York is coming in having lost two of its last three matches. They still occupy fourth place in the current Eastern Conference standings, but are only four points above the playoff line. Let’s take a look at the Tools to the Match presented by The Home Depot against New York Red Bulls.
Keep fighting until the end
One of Atlanta United’s strengths this season has been the resilience that Gonzalo Pineda’s team has shown. Whether it’s overcoming injuries to key players or facing adversity during matches, this team has had a knack for finding a way to get a result. Andrew Gutman has been the hero over the last two weeks, scoring in the final 10 minutes of both matches against Seattle (a home win) and Cincinnati (a road draw). Atlanta has now scored 11 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, tied for the fourth-highest total in MLS. This team will fight until the end and that kind of fight will be needed against a tough opponent on Wednesday against New York.
Watch out for Morgan, Luquinhas in Red Bulls’ attack
New York features a diverse attack with five players who have scored four or more goals this season. The team’s scoring leader is Lewis Morgan, a player who joined before the season from Inter Miami CF. Morgan has scored 10 goals, added four assists and leads the team with 28 key passes. Another midfielder that Atlanta has to keep an eye on is Luquinhas, who has registered five goals and three assists. One of the craftier midfielders in the league, Luquinhas is a player that can connect the play through the middle, while Morgan typically will operate on the wings. Controlling Morgan and Luquinhas will be key for Atlanta United to collect three points on Wednesday night.
Stay focused for 90 minutes
One of Atlanta’s best performances of the season came in the reverse fixture between the sides on June 30. At Red Bull Arena, where Atlanta had never scored a goal, Josef Martinez gave the 5-Stripes a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute. Atlanta controlled the match with 58% possession, 81.6% passing accuracy, but two critical moments late in the match cost the team points as the Red Bulls scored twice to win 2-1 at home.
Atlanta needs to be focused for the full 90 minutes on Wednesday night as it begins the stretch run of the regular season with 10 matches remaining. Atlanta has scored two or more goals in eight of 12 home matches so far. If it continues to score goals at home like it has this season and is switched on defensively for the entire time, then that will give the team the best chance to do something it has never done before in the regular season, defeat the New York Red Bulls.
Fans can tune-in locally on Bally Sports Southeast on Wednesday night as Atlanta United hosts New York Red Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET. Click here to learn all the ways to watch, listen and live stream Wednesday's match.