Yesterday looked like it might be a decisive day in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Atlanta dropped to 4th, New York City dropped to 3rd, Chicago is back and scary again, and Orlando let Columbus beat them to spite us, clearly. Elsewhere in the league, Alejandro Bedoya and Jozy Altidore managed to score and Clint Dempsey had an assist, thus showing that the Soft Tattooed Millionaires (seriously, Bedoya gets paid a million bucks to be a water carrier) both scored, so at least they have gotten over missing the Men’s World Cup.
As for Atlanta, they drew with the New York Red Bulls in a game where both of the teams really wanted the result yesterday. In the end, none of the chances that either side had went into the goal and the game ended at 0-0. Both sides will probably be asking what if? after that game. There were missed opportunities everywhere with Tito Villalba missing his mark after seeming to beat Luis Robles and Julian Gressel pushing a long distance shot wide from mid-field on an open net after a terrible play from Robles.
Saying that the game was one where the ball just wouldn’t go into the net is a little unfair to the keepers, especially Brad Guzan. The man who would watch Tim Howard wander off his line and miss a save on a long distance floater in Trinidad & Tobago was brilliant against New York. He had several game saving plays, blocking shots that looked sure to be on their way into the net.
Anyway, the conference standings are a mess, they’re really wide open. For Atlanta to get the second seed, now they need some help from Chicago, possibly New York and even Columbus on top of needing to win against Toronto FC next week.
Without further delay, here is how it looked.
It seemed like New York had about 100 shots in the last 20 minutes of the game as Atlanta looked gassed to finish the game. Shockingly, it took Tata Martino until the 77th minute to call in his first sub when he pulled Josef Martinez for Kevin Kratz. It also looked a lot like Yamil Asad, and Josef Martinez for that matter, really miss Miguel Almiron play off of the left winger and getting Martinez the ball from that side of the field.
As far as the team stats...
In the end this game looked extremely similar to the last game against New York. Atlanta pressed and had some really good chances, New York was lucky several times not to go behind to the Five Stripes. On the other side, New York pressed and had some really good chances, Atlanta was lucky several times not to go behind to the Red Bulls. Luckily the scoreline was much different and United came away with a point. That said, if the Five Stripes meet New York in the playoffs, they’ll need to figure out how to save some energy. That last 20 minutes was brutal for United and had this been an elimination game, the team would have had an extra half hour to go after the initial 90 minutes if it had ended at 0-0.
Atlanta will finish their historic first season in MLS against Toronto who will be looking to break the record for most points scored in league history next Saturday.