Atlanta United went to Yankee Stadium and successfully frustrated New York City FC, claiming a 1-0 win in a hard-fought match that put them in excellent position to advance in the Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Eric Remedi scrambled home the first professional goal of his career late in the first half to decide a game that was largely marked by physical play from both sides.
The Five Stripes had the better of a first half that saw the two teams combine for 22 fouls — the most in the first half of any MLS game in 2018. The visitors thought they had taken the lead in the 21st minute when Miguel Almiron's bouncing shot looped over Sean Johnson and into the net, but the goal was waved off after Video Review determined that Almiron was offside on the short corner that led to the chance.
NYCFC did have a good chance of their own when Maxime Chanot flashed a free header just wide of the mark, but Atlanta's pressure finally paid off in the 37th minute. From a corner kick, Josef Martinez ripped a volley that Johnson could only parry, and Remedi did just enough in the ensuing scramble to push it across the goal line.
Atlanta had a great chance to grab a second goal less than 10 minutes into the second half when Martinez and Hector Villalba got in for a two-on-one break, but Martinez under-hit his pass to Villalba, allowing the NYCFC defense enough time to block the shot and regroup.
Despite NYCFC holding more possession for the entirety of the second half, they were unable to generate any clear looks at goal and failed to register a shot on target in the 90 minutes. That allowed Atlanta to walk out of Yankee Stadium with a valuable win, which would have been even bigger if it wasn't for a fine Johnson save on Greg Garza in stoppage time.
- 37' – ATL – Eric Remedi | Watch
- THE BIG PICTURE: NYCFC now find themselves with their backs against the wall in this series. Only a win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium next Sunday will do for the Cityzens — a 1-0 result would send the series to extra time, while a win for City by any other scoreline would be enough for them to go through after 90 minutes. In any case, it will be a tall task against a team that went 11-2-4 in front of their raucous home crowd.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It wasn't pretty, but Remedi couldn't have picked a better time for his first professional goal. In a game as chippy as this one, he and Atlanta will take that goal 10 times out of 10.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Michael Parkhurst showed why he's been such a key part of this Atlanta backline with a masterful performance that helped keep NYCFC from even registering a shot on target.
- Eastern Conference Semifinal Leg 2
Sunday, November 11
Atlanta United vs. New York City FC