New York Red Bulls 1, Atlanta United 0 | 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Recap
The hill was too big to climb for the New York Red Bulls.
Entering Thursday night's second leg against Atlanta United down 3-0, the Red Bulls applied pressure but were unable to break through the Atlanta defense until the very end of the match. The Five Stripes locked down the RBNY attack and locked up their trip to MLS Cup. They will host the final on Dec. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the Portland Timbers (8 pm ET; FOX, UniMás, TSN, TVAS).
Tata Martino came into the second leg with a clear plan for his team. They were to sit back and not allow the RBNY attack any space. This resulted in the home team controlling the balance of play but unable to create any big chances. Aaron Long managed to score one in the 79th minute off a corner kick, but it was disallowed after Tim Parker was judged to have fouled Brad Guzan after Video Review. Parker did manage to redeem himself a bit, scoring one in stoppage time after a scramble in the box off a corner kick.
Josef Martinez had a huge opportunity moments into the match as he was able to get in behind the backline and end up 1v1 against Luis Robles. The 'keeper made the save to keep RBNY's hopes alive, but from there the Five Stripes were able to manage the rest of the match. The road team completed just 49 percent of their passes, the lowest percentage any team has had in a match since Opta began tracking the statistic in 2010.
- 90+4' — RBNY — Tim Parker | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Atlanta United have a golden opportunity to capture their first trophy in the MLS Cup final. It would be a culmination of all the work Martino, Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and co. have put on over their first two seasons as a club. The Red Bulls will rue another missed chances to win their first Cup, especially after a dreadful first leg that put them in an insurmountable hole.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Alex Muyl had RBNY's lone big chance in the 52nd minute but was unable to redirect a Kaku cross on frame. It clearly wasn't the Red Bulls' night.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez put in all the necessary work defensively, including breaking up a Kaku chance when it looked like he could be streaking towards the goal by himself. The Argentine won 84 percent of his 19 duels and had a total of 14 clearances.
- RBNY: End of season.
- ATL: 2018 MLS Cup; Sunday Dec. 8 vs. Portland Timbers (8 pm ET; FOX, UniMás, TSN, TVAS)