4. New York Red Bulls
Overall, this series is very one sided. The New York Red Bulls are winners of two out of three with the third match ending as a scoreless draw. If there’s any rivalry here, it’s Atlanta who has beef with Red Bulls. New York is the team that spoiled Atlanta’s first ever match in the league, and they’re the team currently above Atlanta in the Supporters Shield standings.
New York stole the first match 2-1 in Atlanta last year. Later in the season they played to a 0-0 draw at Red Bull Arena. This year the teams have only played once, where New York won at Mercedes Benz Stadium 3-1. These teams will meet again in just a few weeks. That match will most likely determine the Supporters Shield winner this season.
So what makes NYRB a rival candidate for Atlanta? Let’s revisit this season’s 3-1 New York win. Ezequiel Barco opened the scoring in the 25th minute to put Atlanta ahead. Just minutes later Josef Martinez appeared to double Atlanta’s advantage. However, after VAR, the goal was disallowed. In the 41st minute New York converted a penalty and the teams were level at the half. Instead of a 2-0 Atlanta lead, we saw an even 1-1.
Things turned ugly in the second half. New York scored two more times in a five minute span just after the second half started. Atlanta became frustrated, and that led to a Leandro Gonzalez Pirez yellow card and a Greg Garza red card. Add in a freak injury to New York’s Kemar Lawrence that stopped the game for ten minutes, and you’ve got an intense, wacky match that left everyone scratching their head.
Because of the intensity between these two clubs and their neck and neck battle for silverware, I think New York qualifies as a potential rival for Atlanta. Their next match at the end of September will be must-watch soccer.