After a scrappy 1-0 win, Atlanta United head back to the Benz to finish the job against New York City FC.
After the match that shall not be named (against Toronto FC), speculation was made that there was no true substitute for Almiron and what he provides to keep the 5 Stripes back line organized and the offense running. As you can imagine, leaving Yankee Stadium with the win held much more than statistical value.
Almost making an immediate impact after his return, Miguel Almiron scored what would have given Atlanta United the lead in the 21st minute with a beautiful rainbow chip over Sean Johnson. However, after consulting with VAR, the ref concluded that the goal would not count due to interference. The city of Atlanta did not agree.
As the match went on, Atlanta was able to make the most of their chances by achieving their first ever MLS Playoffs win last Sunday. They were also able to maintain their team morale thanks to a tap in from Eric Remedi after a corner.
This win didn’t come easy. As NYCFC started out the match, they were very aggressive in ALL senses of the word.
Not only was New York generating clearer opportunities and attacking more, they also seemed to be, well, attacking more. On the bright side, the high amount of fouls led to the most fouls called in the first half of an MLS game ever, another record broken by Atlanta United.
A return that wasn’t mentioned as much as Almiron’s was Defender Greg Garza‘s. Both Captain Michael Parkhurst and Garza played a big part in Atlanta keeping their 1-0 lead intact until the 90 minutes were up. It was the first time this season where NYCFC was not able to get a single shot on goal.
In a team full of younger guys, putting Garza back in the starting XI in a Playoff game after being out for most of the regular season shows how much Tata and his coaching staff trust Garza’s experience and ability to lead the team.
Garza played a beautiful game and didn’t let his position confine him to one part of the field. His scorching pace allowed him to make smart runs on the width of the pitch which allowed him to make efficient crosses to the midfield or to whoever found themselves closest to the rival’s box.
Holding it Down in the A
We’re back in the Benz this Sunday for Round 2 and New York City has a lot of problems to deal with coming their way.
After limiting Almiron to 45 minutes last week, he’ll likely to be on the pitch for the full 90 this week. Not only that, but our home record speaks for itself (11-2-4). In our 2nd year, we have nothing to lose and everything to prove. Let’s make Atlanta proud.