|New York City FC||Draw||Atlanta United|
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference standings will rumble in the Bronx on Wednesday night in a match that could determine who will claim the No. 1 seed in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
New York City FC
NYCFC sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with 58 points, and a win could lock up home-field advantage in the playoffs. New York has been getting results down the stretch and is 6-0-2 in its past eight matches. They will seek to use the confines of Yankee Stadium to keep Atlanta’s offense compact and in the middle of the field. Heber and Maximiliano Moralez have kept NYCFC on top, but the emergence of Keaton Parks has also helped.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 14, 2019
If NYCFC can neutralize Atlanta’s speed, it will be standing tall in the Bronx.
Atlanta United has stormed back to within striking distance of the top spot in the East, but will likely have to play this match without its star striker, Josef Martinez, who left Saturday’s match against San Jose with a knee injury.
potentially serious knee injury to star @ATLUTD striker Josef Martinez . really hate to see this on so many levels, was also in middle of scoring in 15 straight games – an MLS record. positive vibes 🙏 pic.twitter.com/BiMA1Kwu2G
— Stu Holden (@stuholden) September 21, 2019
If he can’t go, Atlanta will have to adjust and rely on Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco for its scoring. Julian Gressel can also help create scoring chances, and if the middle can operate with speed against NYCFC, it will be a great night for Atlanta.
Without Josef Martinez in the lineup, it is going to be difficult for Atlanta to score goals, and the visiting club will look out of sorts on the small field. However, New York will have issues trying to score as well, and this match will end in a draw.