Atlanta United FC win first leg at New York City FC on Eric Remedi goal

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - November 4: Eric Remedi #11 of Atlanta United celebrates after scoring with team mates Leandro Gonzalez #5 of Atlanta United, Franco Escobar #2 of Atlanta United and Jeff Larentowicz #18 of Atlanta United during the New York City FC Vs Atlanta United FC MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal match at Yankee Stadium on November 4th, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

BRONX, NY. (November 4, 2018) – Atlanta United FC are one goal to the good at “halftime” of the MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals. They defeated New York City FC on Sunday night at Yankees Stadium 1-0 off the first ever goal from Eric Remedi.

Atlanta United FC win the first leg at New York City FC on Eric Remedi goal

The first 20 minutes of the match was all Atlanta United. Miguel Almiron returned to the Starting XI after missing the end of the regular season. Atlanta were dynamic in the attack, especially up the middle.

The Five Stripes found the back of the net in the 20th minute. Amiron struck a ball on a second chance off a corner and Sean Johnson wasn’t able to make the save as it bounced off the ground. The goal was however waved off after a VAR review. Initially, the thought was that Jeff Larentowicz, who was positioned at the back post, had interfered but the replay clearly showed Almiron was off-sides on the cross leading to the chance.

Atlanta found the back of the net, legally this time, in the 37th minute. Josef Martinez went for the spectacular on a corner, volleying it first time towards goal. Johnson made the reactionary save, but the ball fell to his left with no teammate close to clear it. Remedi pounced on the ball right against the post and smashed it into the back of the net.

City appeared to have tied the game just before halftime as David Villa went for a bicycle kick to score, but he was called for a foul on the sequence.

The two sides traded chances in the second half with Atlanta getting the better of the looks but unable to finish. The first leg ended 0-1. In stoppage time, Martinez was denied by a Maxime Chanot slide tackle then Greg Garza was stopped on the followup by Johnson.

Three takeaways:

Almiron provides lift: United had struggled to score to close out the season, but they had plenty of chances in this one. Martinez got some looks despite NYCFC’s defense keying on him. Every other player with significant offensive responsibility had good looks. They only got one goal, the first ever professionally for Eric Remedi, but the chances were there. Miggy is back and so is Atlanta’s spark.

CONCACAFing and chippy fouls: This match set a 2018 record for the most first-half fouls called in an MLS game. Only five yellow cards were handed out, three of them in the first half. Most of them were chippy contact to disrupt build-up.

VAR plays a huge role: VAR absolutely got the call right disallowing the Almiron goal. A 2-0 result would have been a dagger to NYCFC’s playoff hopes. It seemed to give the Cityzens a lift afterwards to slow down the momentum Atlanta had been building from the start of the match.

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