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RECAP: Red Bulls Miss Chance at Playoffs in Goalless Draw

photo by Matt Kremkau

HARRISON, NJ - With the New York Red Bulls needing only a win to punch their ticket for the playoffs for the 12th straight season. However, Atlanta United had other ideas as they dragged the home side to a disappointingly scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena Wednesday night.

With the draw, New York sits in seventh place with 47 points in the Eastern Conference, only one point above the playoff line with one match left in the 2021 MLS regular season.

The match began with head coach Gerhard Stuber serving a one-match ban from yellow card accumulation, he watched in frustration as his side dominated possession, but could not get past the Atlanta defense, who basically sat back, patiently waiting their chance on the counterattack.

Atlanta United's head coach Gonzalo Pineda and his team had a simple, yet effective game plan: Bend, but don't break. And for the most part, they withstood virtually everything the New York threw at them as they out-shot the visitors by a tune of 15-2.

Red Bulls forward Patryk Klimala had perhaps the best chance to put the home side on the scoreboard in the 48th minute when he took a pass from Caden Clark, and from a difficult angle on the right side of the box, let loose a shot that rang off the crossbar.

Klimala had yet another opportunity just four minutes later when he took a pass from Fábio from midfield, and rushed toward the net on a break with only Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan to beat one-on-one, but he weakly punted the ball at Guzan, much to the dismay of the home supporters in attendance.

Klimala's frustrating evening would be completed when he foolishly picked up a yellow card from the official, resulting of him being suspended for Sunday's match with Nashville SC.

Atlanta United had one chance to steal the match late in stoppage time when George Bello found himself in front of the net after taking a pass from Ezequiel Barco, but his shot was easily saved by New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.

By the time referee Alan blew the final whistle shortly afterwards, the supporters that came out to the arena for the final home match went home disappointed that their team did not seal the deal, and instead must head off to Nashville, where a either a win or a draw would claim the final spot for the MLS Cup Playoffs in the regular season's final weekend.

Starting XI:

New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel, John Tolkin , Sean Nealis, Andrés Reyes, Kyle Duncan, Sean Davis, Dru Yearwood, Cristian Cásseres, Jr., Caden Clark (Wiki Carmona, 88’), Fábio, Patryk Klimala (Daniel Royer, 84’)

Atlanta United SC: Brad Guzan, Anton Walkes, Alan Franco, Miles Robinson, Franco Ibarra (George Campbell, 88’), Brooks Lennon (Jurgen Damm, 87’), George Bello, Ezequiel Barco, Matheus Rossetto, Marcelino Moreno (Josef Martinez, 67’), Luiz De Araujo (Ronald Hernandez, 67’)

Scoring Summary:
None.

Disciplinary Summary:
11' (Atlanta United SC) Luiz De Araujo - Yellow card
51' (New York Red Bulls) Patryk Klimala - Yellow card
90' (New York Red Bulls) Sean Nealis - Yellow card
90+1' (Atlanta United SC) Anton Walkes - Yellow card

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