Marsch hails Wright-Phillips as RBNY legend after "heavyweight fight"

HIGHLIGHTS: Atlanta United FC vs. New York Red Bulls | May 20, 2018

ATLANTA — There was no surprise that in a contest pitting two high-octane attacks against each other produced a multitude of incidents to dissect. Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls both pride themselves on high pressing and intense, aggressive styles of play.

The Red Bulls’ 3-1 victory on Sunday night lived up to the billing and the anticipation as it felt like a significant moment occurred every other minute at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

“It was a heavyweight fight,” New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse March said postgame. “We knew there would be punches thrown on both sides and we had to be prepared to take punches at times, but we knew that when we had chances we could really deliver some punches. That winds up showing up in ways where we were able to finish some plays off and to defend some moments, including Ryan Meara. The whole team gave him a standing ovation in the locker room.”

The first significant moment came when head referee Chris Penso called back Josef Martinez’ goal in the 31st minute after using Video Review. Martinez was ruled to have clipped Red Bulls defender Tim Parker before rounding goalkeeper Ryan Meara to score.

VIDEO REVIEW: Josef Martinez's goal is disallowed due to a foul

“The goal Josef [Martinez] scored was a goal and the red card they called on Jeff [Larentowicz] was a foul on the other player,” Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino said through a translator during his postmatch press conference. “Aside from all of that, we played against a very good team but when two teams play, you need more even officiating."

Penso issued Larentowicz a red card early in the second half for a foul he committed on Red Bulls midfielder Sean Davis, but that decision was ultimately overturned after consultation with Video Assistant Referee Mark Geiger. Penso decided to bring Larentowicz back on the pitch and instead issue a yellow card for the challenge.

VIDEO REVIEW: Jeff Larentowicz's red card overturned after review

“The point of VAR is to make sure we get the most important plays in the game correct,” Marsch said. “I think the VAR got it right. Overall I like VAR. But you know it’s in the balance sometimes. Because you’re just watching it live and you can’t see all of the details, you never know what you’re going to get but for the most part if we go back through our time, most of the VAR we’ve had has been right. They’ve gotten the call correct, even in the smallest of margins.”

Shortly after the Larentowicz overturned red card, Bradley Wright-Phillips went on to head in a rapid brace to bring New York all three points and to join Martinez and Gyasi Zardes at the top of the Golden Boot race.

Bradley Wright-Phillips' two clinical finishes put Red Bulls past Atlanta

“Bradley Wright-Phillips is a legend here,” Marsch said. “He continues to create the story and our goal for him is to make sure that the endpoint is something that he can hang his hat on and we all can hang our hat on. He’s amazing in the way he can score goals, the way he runs and works for the team, his mentality and commitment to being a leader and doing everything that could ever be asked of him. He is just amazing.”