Eleven days after being signed from USL Championship, Tom Barlow scored his first MLS goal to lead a 10-man New York Red Bulls to a dramatic 1-0 win over Atlanta United at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Red Bulls snapped Atlanta's five-game win streak and a 520-minute shutout streak in the process.
An incredibly lively first half ended without a goal but with plenty of narrative. The Red Bulls got the first and arguably best chance of the half in the third minute, when Kaku led a final-third break by stealing the ball from Pity Martinez; it finished with Marc Rzatkowski pinging a shot off the crossbar.
Josef Martinez had two particularly notable scoring opportunities in the first half. The first, in the 29th minute, started with a near-full-field pass from Julian Gressel; Martinez beat Red Bulls defender Amro Tarek and left him on the ground, but Tarek managed to poke the ball away while still lying on the ground just as Martinez was about to strike. Then, in the 35th minute, Tim Parker knocked Martinez off-balance as he raced with the ball toward goal; Martinez was allowed to get the shot off, then referee Robert Sibiga awarded a free kick just outside the box and hit Parker with a DOGSO red card, leaving the home side with 10 men.
Both teams tried to position themselves with second-half subs, but it was Barlow going in for Brian White in the 55th minute that proved the ultimate difference maker. Ten minutes after entering the match, he got on the end of an audacious Daniel Royer cross, changing direction to head past Brad Guzan for the lead and the end of the ATLUTD scoreless streak. Atlanta threatened through the remainder of the half, finishing with 12 shots and 10 corners, but couldn't find the equalizer.
- 65' – RBNY – Tom Barlow | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: For Atlanta, the loss breaks a win streak and an impressive shutout streak, plus it continues RBNY's role as Atlanta's prime Eastern Conference nemesis (in the regular season, at least). But the match itself doesn't alter Atlanta's playoff trajectory too much — provided they can bounce back from this one. If the Red Bulls continue to turn their '19 season around, they can point to this match as a positive, though the tenacity they showed in grinding out a result while a man down isn't so new for them.
At any rate, the end-of-match extracurriculars between Kemar Lawrence and Hector Villalba further guarantee that the teams' July 7 rematch in Atlanta will be fully lit.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Though there's a case to be made for the red card, the goal was a thing of beauty, in front of the South Ward, and the first MLS score for a player who has spent the first part of 2019 with Red Bulls II. That's a good moment (unless you're an Atlanta fan).
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Tarek's tackle to deny Martinez a first-half goal was huge, and became even more significant as the match's events unfolded. As the lone RBNY center back to play the full 90, he anchored a heroic defensive effort to preserve the win.