On Sunday, Atlanta United traveled to the Bronx to face New York City FC for the first-ever meeting between the two clubs, but it was the home side that would take the 3-1 victory. After a locked 1-1 score line at the half, a pair of NYCFC goals would surge New York City past the expansion side.
Tata Martino adjusted his lineup slightly from last week with winger Yamil Asad serving a suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee. The Atlanta United Starting XI at NYCFC: Alec Kann (GK), Greg Garza (LB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Michael Parkhurst (CB), Tyrone Mears (RB), Jeff Larentowicz (CM), Carlos Carmona (CM), Julian Gressel (CAM), Tito Villalba (RW), Miguel Almirón (LW), and Kenwyne Jones (ST).
For the first time this season, Atlanta United were not the first team on the scoresheet. NYCFC winger Rodney Wallace laid a ball back to David Villa who carried the ball with pace to the top of the Atlanta penalty area and curled a shot to the back post, out of reach of goalkeeper Alec Kann, knocking both goal posts before crossing the line for the opening score of the match.
NYCFC continued to apply the pressure, but just before the halftime whistle Carlos Carmona would give Atlanta United life with his first goal of the season. After an aerial challenge off a Tyrone Mears throw-in to the NYCFC 18-yard-box, the ball then fell to the Chilean who struck it cleanly off the half volley to the far post upper 90, equalizing the score for the visitors.
Halftime arrived with a 1-1 deadlock but into the next 45, again it would be New York City FC who would kick-start the half.
At the 60th minute the home side would gain the advantage once again. A low cross from Ethan White was touched on by David Villa at the front post and then hammered into the net by Rodney Wallace. Just one minute later, NYCFC would double their lead as Wallace laid a bouncing ball into the path of a dashing Maxi Moralez who calmly slotted it past Kann.
Tata Martino made a few second half changes in attempt to lift his side bringing on midfielder Chris McCann and forward Brandon Vazquez, but it wouldn’t be enough to create a spark as the match would end 3-1 in favor of the hosts after a full 90.
“You play in any sport and in any league, I don’t care what it is, you play on the road, and it’s going to be tough,” said Jeff Larentowicz. “The margin in the MLS is really small. I think we have held our own against the best, but today we lost to a better team.”
Atlanta United will face another quality team on the road again next week as they head to Portland to face off against the Timbers at Providence Park. The expansion side will then return home as they host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Bobby Dodd Stadium. You can secure your seat to what could be Atlanta’s fourth-straight sell-out match here at ATLUTD.com.