The last time the New York Red Bulls clashed against Atlanta United the match took place in Florida. The story will repeat, this time in the MLS is Back Tournament. Another showdown between the Red Bulls and Atlanta is upon us. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Here are the Keys to the Game, presented by Honda:
Aaron Long’s Return to Gameday Roster
The 2018 MLS Defender of the Year and U.S. men’s national team center-back, Aaron Long, is set to get his first minutes of the 2020 season in the MLS is Back Tournament.
The return of Long, who netted two goals in 2019, gives Head Coach Chris Armas more options in the center-back position, where he already counts with Amro Tarek, Tim Parker and Sean Nealis’ presence.
Earlier this year, Long captained the USMNT for the third time in a friendly against Costa Rica. The USMNT won 1-0 and Long played 63 minutes.
Complicate Game for “Pity” Martínez
Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez, who’s entering his second season with Atlanta, started the 2020 season with two assists, both in the 2-1 win over FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With Josef Martínez out for the rest of the season with a torn right ACL, Atlanta’s offense will rely on Pity’s brilliance.
Pity, who arrived from River Plate in 2019 after being named 2018 South American Player of the Year, only managed to score five goals and grab nine assists in 32 regular season games played during his first year in MLS.
Closing down spaces and disrupting Atlanta’s offense will be important to complicate Martínez’s game.
Danny Royer’s Impressive Scoring Streak against Atlanta
With 47 goals across all competitions, Danny Royer is already fourth place in the all-time scoring list for our club. He started the 2020 season with a goal in the 3-2 win over FC Cincy.
Royer has scored four times against Atlanta in regular season play since 2017. In the first ever match between both sides, Royer scored one of the goals in the 2-1 win on March 5, 2017.
Florian Valot scored New York’s only goal in their preseason friendly earlier this year, and it came off a Royer assist. In games against Atlanta, Royer always finds ways to contribute.