Atlanta United looked like their old self in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semi-finals last week and took a great advantage against New York City FC. They will now return home to complete their triumph, where they will host their opponents on Sunday. New York City FC have been struggling to get results for quite some time now and their back-to-back wins now look like a fluke. They will need a win here so they will have to come here with an offensive mindset.
Date/Time: 11-11-2018, 18:30 EDT
Spread: Atlanta United -0.75
Total: 3 Goals
Atlanta United suffered a shocking loss in the last match-day of the regular season and saw the Supporters’ Shield slip right from their hands. But they were missing key man Miguel Almiron in their last couple of matches and struggled to get results. They were excellent in his return to the starting line-up, as they escaped New York with a 1-0 win. Atlanta United were excellent on both ends of the pitch, as they didn’t allow a single shot on their own target. They scored the only goal of the match at the 37th minute with Remedi and sat on the result. They will now take this tie at home, where they were excellent during the regular season (11-2-4). They had the best home offense with 42 goals and the 4th best defense with 19 conceded. Atlanta United only lost once at home in the past five months and won each of their last four. But they only kept a single clean sheet in their last seven home matches in all competitions.
On the other hand, New York City FC came into the playoffs in some pretty bad form but made two easy wins against Philadelphia. They looked like they were back to being healthy, but they weren’t at all. They failed to get a single shot on the opposing target despite creating 8 scoring chances. New York City FC lacked vision and execution and they overall lack consistency in the past three months. They have won just three of their 13 matches in that span (3-6-3) and have really shown signs of weakness at the worst possible timing. It’s not like they were good on the road either (4-9-4), scoring 23 while conceding 35 in the process. They struggled a lot on the road lately and have not won any of their last five (0-4-1). At least they have scored in each of their last four.
The two teams had met twice in the season prior to Atlanta’s 1-0 win in New York, and both were draws. The previous match was the first time in five matches that there weren’t goals from both sides. Atlanta United have remained undefeated in two matches here and doing so again will see them through to the Conference finals.
Atlanta United don’t even need a win in order to qualify, so there’s that. New York City FC know that only a win would save them, so they will have to look for a goal at some point. That can leave open spaces for Atlanta’s lethal offense. All in all, I think that at some point the rhythm in this match will pick up and there is fertile ground for a high-scoring match here.
MLS Playoffs Atlanta United vs New York City FC Prediction: Over 3 Goals (-104)
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