The New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United renewed their young rivalry, as both sides were ready to tackle this new chapter at the Land of the Mouse in Orlando. But what we didn’t expect was to see a Red Bull side to score early and look dangerous after four months of inaction as they defeated Atlanta United 1-0.
Florian Valot scored the only goal of the match in the fourth minute as he got a brilliant ball from Kaku. After regaining possession from a turnover-prone Atlanta side, Kaku whipped it in hard towards space for Valot who then slotted it home past the right side of Brad Guzan.
Valot now has a goal and an two assists since his return from devastating knee injuries in consecutive seasons. “I know it’s been difficult for everybody. I’m doing well. It was important to score early. We were a good team for the first five to ten minutes we were able to push hard.
“It’s been very rewarding for myself after everything that has happened to me the last two seasons, but all credit to the team for helping me get back to this level.”
But all match long the Red Bulls were confident and attacking with ease as Atlanta were frequently careless and stumped in possession. While head coach Frank de Boer made some adjustments during the water breaks and with substitutions, Atlanta United couldn’t take advantage in the final third.
It took a final big save from David Jensen inside second-half stoppage time to secure the full three points, and while the Red Bulls are in the top two spots in Group E, they are also 1st place in the Eastern Conference with seven points.
Head coach Chris Armas highlighted the ability of the team to restrict Atlanta’s playmakers and prevent chances. “Atlanta United is not just one player. They have a lot of players that move and find spaces, which takes a lot of intelligence. We can keep the space in-between the lines tight.”
“Players like Pity Gonzalez it’s like controlling him and keeping track of him and limit the space that he can find the space.
“You see when Barco comes in they are very talented and we have to get one or two or For Jason Pendant, this was his first match with the New York Red Bulls since he transferred over at the start of this pandemic. He looked strong. and smooth down the right side of the backline.”
This match ends with positive momentum for RBNY in their MLS is Back tournament campaign and they hold an advantageous group position as they move forward to face Columbus Crew on Thursday.