Thorarinsson’s 90th-minute strike helped NYCFC pick up a valuable away point to remain in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs race; coupled with other results on the night, they pulled level on points with D.C. United for the seventh and final spot in the postseason. Atlanta remained in fifth place with 43 points, three behind fourth-place Orlando.
NYCFC arguably held the better plays in the game's early stages, but Atlanta opened the scoring just past the quarter-hour mark after Luiz Araujo dispossessed Jesus Medina near midfield. The Brazilian DP finished off a nice solo run with a feed to Marcelino Moreno, who fired it past Sean Johnson for his second goal in as many matches and a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
Atlanta carried the play from that point, seeing various chances to double their margin go begging – none better than George Bello’s 55th-minute attempt that struck the woodwork. With the hosts looking to build on a slim lead, NYCFC started to gradually grow into the match as they attempted to equalize.
- THE BIG PICTURE: After being outplayed for a good portion of the match, NYCFC responded and eventually stole a crucial away point. That sets up another vital test, as a massive six-pointer at home against D.C. United awaits them Saturday. Atlanta failed to settle matters and see things out on home soil, and they’ll come away knowing that maximum points were there for the taking.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There was no question what the key moment was in this one. With the match in its dying stages, Gudi Thórarinsson delivered on a free kick that put NYCFC on level terms.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: He only played a little over a half-hour, but Thórarinsson’s last-minute heroics helped his team salvage a critical result.