New York City FC 1, Atlanta United 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Josef Martinez added to his league-leading goal tally and Brad Guzan stood on his head, but a late goal from Alexander Callens helped a dominant New York City FC avoid a loss to Atlanta United in a battle of the Eastern Conference's top two teams.
The home side largely controlled the first half, which ended scoreless, but found themselves behind just minutes into the second frame. Julian Gressel whipped in an inch-perfect cross from the right flank, and Martinez connected with a diving header that bounced past Sean Johnson for the opening goal.
NYCFC continued to turn the screws after Atlanta's goal, but couldn't find a way past Guzan, who racked up the majority of his nine saves in the final 45 minutes of the game. The home side didn't do themselves any favors, either, hitting the post three times and seeing a couple quality chances go wide of the target.
The hosts would find their equalizer through an unlikely source with 13 minute left in regulation – David Villa flicked on a corner kick from Maxi Moralez, and Callens got open at the far post for his first tally of the season to give NYCFC a well-earned share of the points.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Eastern Conference remains as tight as ever, with Atlanta maintaining their two-point lead over NYCFC, though NYCFC could fall to third if Columbus win later in the day. NYCFC, who will enter the World Cup break with head coach Patrick Vieira's future in the balance amid rumors of a move to Ligue 1, will feel somewhat hard-done by after creating a host of quality looks, while Atlanta will have no complaints about coming away from a visit to their closest competitors with a point.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: On a day when quality looks were few and far between for the visitors, Martinez showed why he's the league's most lethal goalscorer with a quality diving header. It was one of just two shots on target for Atlanta, and the Venezuelan international was able to make it count.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: This one wouldn't have been close without Brad Guzan's heroics. The experienced 'keeper racked up nine saves and could do little to prevent NYCFC's equalizer.