When this game was circled on the calendar we all expected to see the regular starting eleven go out and take on Atlanta United and we were all hoping we would’ve had a hell of a match up as both squads were up to full strength.
But something happened the match before with Bradley Wright-Phillips earning a yellow card that would suspend him for this match and before this match began there was no Tyler Adams due to tightness in his back.
But it didn’t matter at all when you have a side that continues to have players ready to go, who knows the system and still went out on the field and delivered a gut punch right in front of Atlanta United who won this handedly by a final of two goals to nil.
Daniel Royer converted from the spot once again in the 39th minute as the Red Bulls earned a corner in the 38th minute. A cross from the far side was delivered to the middle of the area and when Marc Rzatkowski deflects it off his head, Aaron Long tried to head it towards the net, but Chris McCann lifted his left hand and handled the ball.
As the match continued in the second half you can tell that Atlanta United was getting frustrated every single time they hand the ball. Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba couldn’t cut through the backline of Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Tim Parker and Michael Murillo.
But in the 75th minute the beginning of the end came as Tim Parker converted his first goal as a member of the Red Bulls. Kaku gives the ball to Marc Rzatkowski who saw Alex Muyl call for it. Then a nice pass to force Brad Guzan off his line & then a whip around shot by Muyl towards an open net, then Parker came in to slam it home.
With Brian White being used to start the match and Alex Muyl coming in on the wing with Rzatkowski being used for Tyler Adams spot, the Red Bulls never looked out of place and with the victory are now a single point behind Atlanta United for first place in the Eastern Conference and the Supporters Shield race.
“What did I think? The effort, it couldn’t have been more from the opening whistle. That we feel really good about it. We’ve always talked around here for years about just being fearless and going after it.” said Chris Armas
“That we were most proud of from the opening whistle in a big game, this team has always shown up. It’s easy to talk about it and ask for it, but then to see the guys, to a man, step up was impressive.”
To see what this club has done against one of the young darlings of the league as the Red Bulls shut them down and forcing them to make some plays they weren’t able to create. The backline was solid and gave them a problem.
“It’s tough. The whole week of training we weren’t really too happy with each other. We weren’t happy with the way we were figuring things out and then, come game day, things got easy.” said Tim Parker, “I think that credits the guys, the scout team that obviously replicates Atlanta and that credits us for figuring things out the right way on game day.”
The fun towards the end was both supporters groups trying to out chant each other. The South Ward pulling the “YOU CAN’T BEAT US!” and then added “WHO’S YOUR DADDY!”, but the Atlanta fans reminded them “WE’RE IN FIRST PLACE!” So this is starting to shape up into a little fan rivalry.
But once the celebrations are over the Red Bulls will concentrate on their next opponent as they take their final west coast road trip of the season as they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.