Atlanta, GA. (May 20, 2018) – The New York Red Bulls stormed into Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday night and ran circles around Atlanta United FC. Ezequiel Barco put Atlanta on the board in the 26th minute, only to be neutralized by a Daniel Royer penalty kick just before half time. The temporary captain for the Red Bulls in Luis Robles’ absence, Bradley Wright-Phillips, expertly directed two thumping headers by Brad Guzan just 10 minutes into the second half. New York held on to that 3-1 lead all the way until the final whistle, though it came with a price.
New York Red Bulls Cling to Bittersweet Victory in Atlanta: RECAP
The game looked to be going Atlanta’s way in the 31st minute when Josef Martinez put the home team up 2-0. However, Chris Penso made one of his many huge decisions on the night and called the goal back for a foul after a video review.
After Wright-Phillips had put RBNY ahead and provided an insurance goal as well, Atlanta’s job was made increasingly difficult as Greg Garza saw red for a studs-up tackle on Sean Davis.
Red Bulls fans will set the three points aside for now. Their main concern, along with many throughout MLS, is the health of left back Kemar Lawrence. The Jamaican went down after an awkward defensive maneuver, and was motionless for some time. Immediate reports from the Red Bulls bench is that Lawrence was taken to the hospital in an ambulance just after being stretchered off the field. “We don’t have any update on Kemar. We’re hopeful that everything is OK,” Jesse Marsch told the press after the match.
While both teams’ medical staffs were tending to Lawrence, Tyler Adams also went off quietly, with an apparent knee injury. Marsch said post game that, “his knee just started to swell a little bit,” adding that Adams felt good and his substitution was precautionary.
Though these could be significant blows to Jesse Marsch’s side, the victory is monumental. New York now has the league’s largest goal differential at +14, and they sit atop MLS with 2.1 points per game. A statement from a young team trying to prove themselves week in and week out.
Wright-Phillips, with his brace, is now level with Josef Martinez for the top spot in the Golden Boot race with eight goals.
RBNY will host the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena next Sat. May 26.