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Atlanta United ends unbeaten streak with 4-0 defeat at New York Red Bulls

The wait for a win at Red Bull Arena continues...

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York Red Bulls John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

An inability to deal with the high press combined with defensive mishaps resulted in a 4-0 beatdown for Atlanta United at the hands of the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

The defeat marks the second time Atlanta is shut out this season and leaves the Five Stripes 6th in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 20 games and a 7-8-5 record.

With some players back, the Five Stripes returned to a lineup close to full strength but not quite. Luis Abram, making his second MLS start, slotted in at center back while Thiago Almada and Giorgos Giakoumakis resumed their usual posts at the number 10 and number 9, respectively. Matheus Rossetto returned to the starting lineup after riding a couple of games on the bench likely to allow Amar Sejdic some rest after playing 87 minutes on Wednesday.

The hosts started piling on the pressure early on and Atlanta United seemed to be managing it at first. Things began to take a bad turn when the Five Stripes’ erratic passing and individual errors that have haunted the team throughout the season started to show up again.

The Red Bulls struck first after Daniel Edelman received a throw-in from Cameron Harper and found himself with space inside to send a near-post shot past Brad Guzan. Atlanta United switching off defensively on dead balls costs it again as it found itself down 1-0 after 37 minutes.

Things only got worse as Cristian Casseres Jr. doubled the Red Bulls’ lead at the end of the first half as a result of forcing a turnover by Juanjo Purata which allowed Casseres to easily fire a shot to the bottom corner. As the teams headed into the locker rooms, New York found itself with a 2-0 advantage.

Atlanta United pushed for a lifeline, but would only find the ball in the back of its net after a quick transition moment led to a sequence of quick passes around Atlanta’s box which culminated in a Frankie Amaya shot deflecting off Andrew Gutman and going in. After 78 minutes, the Five Stripes only found themselves further and further behind.

But that wasn’t all. Amaya made it a brace in stoppage time after recovering a turnover and firing a shot past Guzan. To complete the embarrassment, the Red Bulls made it 4-0 just before the final whistle.

Ultimately, this match only highlighted the deficiencies present in this team for a while now: a midfield that struggles to progress the ball and a backline that’s just too slow to close down attackers in the box.

Atlanta United returns home to host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, July 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 pm.

What are your thoughts on the match? Let us know in the comments below.