A win by either side would have secured their respective passages to the postseason, while an Atlanta draw coupled with a CF Montréal loss or draw against Houston Dynamo FC would have also settled matters for them. Instead, it will come down to the season’s final day for both clubs thanks to a goalless stalemate coupled with a 2-0 Montréal win over Houston.
While Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber was serving a suspension due to yellow card accumulation, possession heavily favored the home side throughout the opening half as they sought to claim their 12th straight playoff appearance. Atlanta, who entered the match having never beaten New York in the regular season, failed for much of the night to generate anything that even closely resembled a threat to goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
And it was nearly a dream start to the second half for the Red Bulls as Caden Clark’s cross found Patryk Klimala in the box, but the striker’s attempt hit off the crossbar. Klimala had another chance fall by the wayside when he found himself 1-on-1 with Brad Guzan but had his opportunity stopped nicely by Atlanta’s goalkeeper.
In stoppage time, Atlanta saw a great chance at a match-winner ultimately fizzle out inside of the scoring area. That meant that the match would end the same way it began to set up an intense end to the regular season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It will all come down to Sunday for both RBNY and Atlanta. Atlanta have the simpler of the Decision Day matchups in traveling to last-place FC Cincinnati, but they’ll need to dictate terms if they’re to avoid falling victim to a Cincy side looking to play spoiler. The Red Bulls travel to Nashville SC to face a Boys In Gold side that can finish no worse than fourth in the East and have yet to lose at Nissan Stadium this year. But RBNY will be without Patryk Klimala, who will sit out the match due to yellow card accumulation.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Klimala had two sights of goal within moments of each other in the second half. After the first one rang off the woodwork, he’ll wish he had done better with his second chance, which was denied by Guzan.