Atlanta United vs New York Red Bulls - Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Without their best player, who will step up as Atlanta’s striker?
- The potential to see the emergence of a new Red Bulls star
- Red Bulls defenders, the difference-makers
|What||Atlanta United vs New York Red Bulls|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)|
|When||Saturday, July 11th at 8:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX, TUDN, TUDN App|
In their first match-up of the MLS Is Back tournament, two of the biggest teams from the Eastern Conference are set to face-off this weekend.
Atlanta United, without the injured talisman striker Josef Martinez, will step into Florida with a number of unknowns regarding their attack. Still recovering from an ACL, the absence of the 2019 MLS All-Star will be a gargantuan one for his club. More attacking responsibilities in the tournament will now land on the shoulders of key players such as Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, Ezequiel Barco and others.
Looking at the New York Red Bulls, there are also similar uncertainties for the team that has regressed since winning the 2018 Supporters’ Shield. The Red Bulls struggled to get consecutive wins late last season, and despite their four points in their previous and only two games of 2020, their opponents were far from intimidating. Nonetheless, those results are a step in the right direction after almost missing out on the playoffs last year.
Atlanta United vs New York Red Bulls Odds
|Atlanta United vs New York Red Bulls||Odds|
|Atlanta United win||-167|
|New York Red Bulls win||+255|
Odds taken from DraftKings
Even without their star striker, Atlanta remains the favorites in this upcoming clash. Man for man, they will have a narrow advantage over their work-in-progress opponents. A good result for the Red Bulls isn’t out of the question though. If some factors work in their favor, at least a draw is within reach.
Who Will Be Atlanta United’s Striker?
The noteworthy omission and question remains. Will it be Pity Martinez as a false nine? Will he and Barco play up top without a true striker? Will unexciting alternates like Manuel Castro, Adam Jahn or J.J. Williams be given a chance as the lone forward?
The big problem here for manager Frank de Boer is that there is no clear cut answer. After relying on Josef Martinez for a long stretch of time, Atlanta will need to tinker with different options before finding an ideal solution. Which is all good news for the Red Bulls. In an unpredictable tournament environment, it wouldn’t be surprising if Atlanta’s attack failed to impress in their MLS Is Back debut.
Red Bull’s Diamonds In The Rough
Although the Red Bull roster isn’t the most eye-catching at first glance, on deeper inspection, it becomes quite clear that they have more than a handful of players who are capable of having a breakout tournament.
Just to name a few, Cristian Casseres Jr. is a midfield star-in-the-making, Mathias Jorgensen has the potential to be an elite MLS striker and Kyle Duncan could become one of the best fullbacks in the league. The list continues.
The question isn’t if the New York Red Bulls will improve, it’s when. And if you’re a fan of Atlanta United, you’ll keep your fingers crossed that this Saturday’s game won’t be the time in which some of these players start to truly highlight their capabilities.
Game Will Likely Be Decided By Red Bull’s Aaron Long And Tim Parker
Even if some of the young members of New York’s roster start to step up, Atlanta United will still be expected to dominate the game. On their own, the likes of Pity Martinez and Barco each have enough individual talent to clinch three points for Atlanta.
In steps Aaron Long and Tim Parker for the Red Bulls. On their day, they are the best central defensive duo in the league, and on Saturday, they’ll have no lack of work against an Atlanta side that will do their best to compensate for the woes associated with their injured top goalscorer.
Atlanta will be expected to control Saturday’s game. In 2019, they ranked fourth in MLS when it came to possession of the ball, fourth in shots and second in 1v1 dribbling. Attacking is part of their threatening DNA, but without Josef Martinez, the workload for Long and Parker will become much more manageable.
Atlanta are the favorites but are missing their best player. New York are still waiting on young players to step up but have a strong setup in the heart of their defense. A draw here seems like the best pick.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.