New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United | 2018 MLS Match Preview

New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 31

Red Bull Arena — Harrison
Sept. 30 — 1 pm ET

The match of the year is finally upon us as the New York Red Bulls host Atlanta United in a game that will likely go a long way toward determining the Supporters’ Shield winner Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.

Coming off a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC, the Red Bulls trail Atlanta United by four points in the Shield race with both teams having four games remaining. The Five Stripes have won three games in a row following a 2-0 home win over Real Salt Lake last Saturday.

This is the second meeting between the Eastern Conference foes this year with the Red Bulls winning, 3-1, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on May 20. Ezequiel Barco opened the scoring in the 26th minute, but Daniel Royer leveled from the penalty spot three minutes from halftime and Bradley Wright-Phillips struck for a brace in a four-minute span early in the second half to lift the visitors.

New York Red Bulls

New York (18-7-5) improved to 12-2-1 at Red Bull Arena with a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday.

Wright-Phillips helped set up both second-half goals, the first by Kaku in the 70th minute and a stoppage-time insurance tally by Derrick Etienne. However, Wright-Phillips was booked for dissent four minutes from full time, a yellow card which resulted in a suspension for Sunday’s showdown.

“Our team has always risen to the occasion in big matches, especially at home,” Chris Armas said. “We had a great match with Atlanta early on this year. It was back and forth at times, but we obviously edged them out. We have a lot of respect for Atlanta. They have a lot of weapons, they’re coached well, but we are going to look to be the aggressors. We want to go after them and we’ll make them earn everything they get on the day.”

  • Suspended: F - Bradley Wright-Phillips
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Kaku, D - Michael Amir Murillo
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Florian Valot (torn left ACL), D - Kyle Duncan (torn right ACL), M - Vincent Bezecourt (right MCL surgery), D - Tommy Redding (shoulder surgery), M - Ben Mines (broken left clavicle surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Luis Robles — Michael Murillo, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence — Tyler Adams, Marc Rzatkowski — Danny Royer, Kaku, Alex Muyl — Brian White

  • Notes: Tyler Adams has seven games with 10+ recoveries in league play this year. Only five players have more such games. … The Red Bulls’ 12 home wins this season are just two off the MLS record of 14 set by the 1998 D.C. United. New York has kept clean sheets in three straight home matches, their fourth-such streak of at least three games since 2015.

Atlanta United

Atlanta (19-5-6) maintained a lead atop the Eastern Conference and also moved a step closer to clinching a berth in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League with a 2-0 home win over Real Salt Lake Saturday.

Julian Gressel broke the stalemate in the 37th minute and Hector Villalba essentially put the game away in the 61st minute in a match that saw Homegrown George Bello earn his first MLS start.

“We might have a hand on it, but the Red Bulls want to cut that hand off,” Tata Martino said of the Supporters’ Shield with a laugh. “What leaves me happiest is, first that we took nine out of nine points, but furthermore that in the third game we were able to find our level of play again. The level of play today and the victory.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Jeff Larentowicz, M - Chris McCann
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Greg Garza (shoulder surgery), D - Sal Zizzo (right knee injury), D - Mikey Ambrose (right knee surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Chris McCann — Eric Remedi, Jeff Larentowicz, Miguel Almiron — Julian Gressel, Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba

  • Notes: Gressel has six assists in his last seven league appearances for Atlanta. He had eight in his first 22 games this year. … Atlanta enters with 10 road wins this season, already tied for the third-most ever by a MLS team and three off the league record shared by the 1999 D.C. United and 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy.

All-Time Series


Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Corey Parker
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
VAR: Younes Marrakchi