Atlanta United stole whatever momentum New York City FC had going into the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals, grabbing a huge road goal in a 1-0 win Sunday night in the Bronx.
The Five Stripes played the aggressor, pressing NYCFC and creating chance after chance on goal.
They nearly scored the opening goal of the night in the 20th minute on a wedge shot by Miguel Almiron. Almiron’s shot bounced high enough over the outreached hand of NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson and dropped under the crossbar and into the net. However, the goal was disallowed after video review because Almiron was offside on the play.
Atlanta officially struck first in the 38th minute when Eric Remedi tapped in a loose ball off of an initial save by Sean Johnson. Johnson made the save on a corner kick by Atlanta, and parried it away, but no NYCFC defender was there to clear the second ball.
NYCFC had a chance at an equalizer in a wild sequence inside the 18-yard box just before the end of the first half, however, as Villa missed a bicycle kick on goal, he was also called for a foul on the play.
Sean Johnson had a huge save entering second-half stoppage time, keeping NYCFC in a manageable 1-0 hole at the end of the game.
With the lone road goal in hand, Atlanta United takes a big advantage going back home for the second leg of the series next Sunday.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan held strong in goal for the Five Stripes, shutting down an NYCFC side that entered the semis with huge momentum.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Remedi’s goal in the 38th minute for Atlanta United proved to be the difference on the night, giving Atlanta an important road goal going into the second leg.
MATCH TO FORGET: NYCFC’s Maxi Moralez was unable to create anything for the Boys in Blue on the night, a potential sign for the worst entering the second leg next week.