Red Bulls Defeat Atlanta United 1-0

The New York Red Bulls defeated Atlanta United FC, 1-0, at ESPN Wide World of Sports in their first match of the MLS is Back tournament.

Florian Valot struck early with a calmly slotted ball in the 4th minute, with the assist coming from Kaku off a first touch pass. The goal gave Chris Armas’ guys the lead early on in the match.

The Frenchman's goal was registered as the fastest of the tournament. In the 25th minute, midfielder Danny Royer had his volley saved after a whipped in cross from Kyle Duncan.

Cristian Cásseres, Jr. had the third opportunity of the first half, after having his shot stopped by Brad Guzan late in the first half.

In the first 45 minutes, New York had three shots total compared to Atlanta’s four, but went into halftime with the lead.

With Atlanta keeping majority of the possession, the New York backline consisting of Duncan, Amro Tarek, Aaron Long, and Jason Pendant held them for the first 45 minutes by winning 18 duels and having 15 total clearances.

Omir Fernandez, Alex Muyl, Jared Stroud, Marc Rzatowski, and Tim Parker came in for Tom Barlow, Kaku, Florian Valot, Daniel Royer, and Jason Pendant in the second half to help New York keep the lead.

In the 59th minute, Duncan found Alex Muyl within the eighteen and his shot was stopped by the foot of Guzan.

In the 74th minute, Atlanta United almost tied the game via a Ezequiel Barco header that just went wide of the post.

Adam Jahn connected a header off a cross in the dying moments of the match, but David Jensen came up with a huge stop to secure the victory for New York. Jensen tallied four saves and recorded his first clean sheet of the 2020 season.

New York will now prepare for their second group stage match against Columbus Crew SC on July 16.

Goals
4’ -- RBNY -- Florian Valot (Kaku)

Next Up
Thursday, July 16 vs. Columbus Crew (10:30 p.m. ET)
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New York Red Bulls 1, Atlanta United FC 0
2020 MLS is Back Tournament | Group E Game 1
Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 8 p.m. ET
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex | Orlando, Fla.

Box Score

Scoring Summary:
NY - Florian Valot 1 (Kaku) 4' - WATCH

Misconduct Summary:
ATL - Franco Escobar (yellow, unsporting behavior) 42'
ATL - Pity Martinez (yellow, unsporting behavior) 45'+3'


New York Red Bulls: David Jensen; Jason Pendant (Tim Parker, 90'), Aaron Long, Amro Tarek, Kyle Duncan, Cristian Cásseres, Jr., Sean Davis ©, Kaku (Omir Fernandez, 58'), Florian Valot (Jared Stroud,70'), Daniel Royer (Marc Rzatkowski, 90'), Tom Barlow (Alex Muyl, 58')

Unused Subs: Patrick Seagrist, Sean Nealis, Ben Mines, Ryan Meara, Mandela Egbo, Kendall McIntosh, Chris Lema,

TOTAL SHOTS: 6; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4

Atlanta United FC: Brad Guzan ©, Franco Escobar, Fernado Meza, Brooks Lennon, Miles Robinson, George Bello (Jake Mulraney,72'), Matheus Rossetto (Adam Jahn,72'), Pity Martinez, Luis Castro (Ezequiel Barco, 57'), Emerson Hyndman (Jeff Larentowicz, 56'), Mo Adams (Eric Remedi, 81')

TOTAL SHOTS: 14; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 3

Unused Subs: Anton Walkes, Brendan Moore, Edgar Castillo, Alec Kann, Jon Gallagher, Laurence Wyke, George Campbell

Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Jason White
4th Official: Victor Rivas
VAR: Alex Chilowicz

Attendance: Closed-door match

Florian Valot's first goal since 2018 helped lead the New York Red Bulls (2-0-1, 7 pts) past Atlanta United FC (2-1-0, 6 pts), 1-0 on Saturday night at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
New York leads Group E in the MLS is Back Tournament with three points and a plus-one goal differential.
The Red Bulls extended their 2020 season unbeaten streak to three matches (2-0-1) and their MLS regular-season unbeaten streak over Atlanta, 5-0-2.
New York broke the scoreless draw early in the match as Kaku, from midfield, sent his pass over the backline for Florian Valot in stride to finish to the far post.
Danish goalkeeper David Jensen recorded his first career MLS cleansheet, tallying four saves.
Valot became New York's fifth different goal scorer to start 2020. The Red Bulls have tallied five goals total in 2020.
Recently signed French left back Jason Pendant made his MLS debut in the Starting XI, while New Jersey native Jared Stroud made his MLS debut as a substitute in the 70th minute.
New Jersey native Chris Lema, who was signed from New York Red Bulls II, and Mandela Egbo, who came over from SV Darmstadt 98, made their MLS 23-man roster debut.
Since the Red Bulls implemented their high-press system in 2015, New York improved to 71-12-16 when scoring the first goal of the match.
New York has not only scored first in the first three games of the season but has also held its first three opponents scoreless in the first half.
Head coach Chris Armas raised his career record to 28-17-9 overall. Armas is two wins away from cracking New York's top-five all-time MLS wins list.
New York is 52-43-23 all-time in the month of July. New York has scored 192 goals in the seventh month of the year and allowed 180.
New York's Group E second match will be against Columbus Crew SC on Thursday, July 16 at 10:30 p.m. ET, with coverage on FS1, Fox Deportes, TUDN and Red Bulls BOTNradio.
POST-GAME QUOTES

New York Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas

Open Statement
I'm really proud of our boys. I think it's always difficult to match the first one of group play in any tournament style play and Atlanta is, is one of the benchmarks of the league with top players, they're well coached team and to see our players step on the field with courage and a commitment to the style of play, and a commitment to each other. And they really went after the game. And I think they earned the three points and like I said I'm really proud of them. Games usually go and little ebbs and flows and we thought we were even better in the second half that the first half is a little bit back and forth and they moved us around a little bit, and when they had the ball, and they're good at that. But I think our guys defensively were tight in the second half we create a lot of chances and for sure it's a great, great victory to start the tournament for our guys.

On whether the substitutions were more managed, in taking care of the minutes while they guys were getting tired or completely tactical
I think it was a little bit of both. The substitutions early on with the midfielders, we bring on fresh legs and Alex Muyl and so much with us, our style of play requires players to meet the demands with the intensity and the running and understanding against the ball. So the first few substitutions had that in mind with some intensity and energy because it's difficult it's hot, you can see the water breaks it's humid, and even up top with Omir Fernandez, this is a bit of a tactical move because we know Omir Fernandez can stretch the team and he can also hold onto the ball. So later in the game I think we saw, we went to five in the back a little bit of a system change. So it was a little bit of both, and always as a coach you have to look at the game and manage it the best way you can but we knew we would be aggressive with our substitutions and I thought that the guys did really well to come on.

On how Valot's showing overall was in the match
Well, it's fitting for the two guys sitting next to Flo [Valot] and Kaku both, they really understand how to operate in that red zone, we call it the space between the other teams 6's and backline because their awareness and their ability to know exactly where they are at all times, and then to make final plays whether it's a goal or an assist their passing ability and intelligence is of a high level. When you talk about Flo [Valot], and Kaku he's, he's able to make the game, but when you have another playmaker you play with two 10s, it takes pressure off of Kaku and we say how long does it take a couple of players to get on the same page. And these guys can get on the same page pretty quickly. So, you know, I've seen Flo's [Valot] journey, come with the injuries and he works really hard to come back. And that just to see him play well and produce it's really special moments for Flo [Valot].He understands how we play with the ball he's really clean brings ideas to our team, and he understands the system how to play, which is not an easy system when there's only two 10s in there to understand the spaces and how to play against the ball I think we see that he does a nice job.

On being asked to be interview by FOX mid-game
Look, when I was asked about that yesterday I said yes, because I think for the viewership if we can give them an inside, little peek of what we're thinking and makes it even more interesting for our game, and in our league in our country. I said yes. In that moment, it's you know everything's tight, it's 1-0, we're watching the game it's not so easy. But to be fair I just wanted to try to give the truth to anyone watching what we're feeling and what we're thinking so I understand it, and anything we can do to help grow our sport in our country to make it more exciting and interesting to gain even more soccer fans.


New York Red Bulls midfielder Florian Valot

On scoring his first goal in some time
Yeah, I think it's difficult for everybody, but I think it was important to score early and reward the team for the first 5-10 minutes that we had we pushed really hard. Obviously it's really rewarding for myself after what I've been through for the last two years but it's full credit for the team and I'm really happy we get the win today.