Despite outshooting its opponent 13-8 and possessing the ball at a 61.9-percentage, Atlanta United was unable to break through with a goal in its 0-0 home draw against the New York Red Bulls at Mercedes-Benz Stadium June 27 in Major League Soccer play.
Atlanta (2-2-6, 12 points) stayed undefeated through five home matches in MLS play while New York (4-5-1, 13 points) earned its first away points in MLS this season.
“Both teams were physically strong,” United manager Gabriel Heinze said. “We changed our position on the field and found a little bit of what we wanted.”
Per the scoreline, it was a scoreless first half for both teams. Atlanta’s best scoring opportunity came in the the 44th minute when Ezequiel Barco’s crossing shot from the left side just outside of the penalty area was saved by New York Red Bulls’ goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
“Because they played with a backline of three we put our wingers Barco and (Marceleno) Moreno to play in the mid-channels to combat that situation,” Heinze said.
New York’s best chance came on Wikelman Carmona’s shot saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Atlanta’s Franco Ibarra suffered a leg injury to the hamstring in the first half and was replaced by Alan Franco in the 37th minute.
The move forced Atlanta to go to a primary three-man backline consisting of Miles Robinson, Santiago Sosa and Anton Walkes.
New York outshot Atlanta 4-3 in the first half. Atlanta led in possession percentage at 58.4 completed 65.8-perent of its passes.
New York looked to take the lead in the 68th minute when Kyle Duncan had a point-blank right-footed shot on goal but it was saved by a sprawling Guzan.
Brooks Lennon sought to put Atlanta on the board with his shot in the 78th minute but it was stopped by a diving save from Coronel.
Atlanta’s final push for a score resulted in a header attempt by Robinson on a Lennon cross that hit the post in the 89th minute.
“Its definitely frustrating to hit it off the post,” Robinson said. “There’s nothing you can do besides forget about it at this point. You have to build off it and continue going forward.”
Its Atlanta’s third shutout in MLS play this season.
“Keeping a clean sheet is always good,” Robinson said. “That’s something you can build off of. They had a few chances but Brad (Guzan) made some great saves. So did their keeper. Overall it was a competitive game. These guys are a high-pressing team so its never going to look pretty out there but that’s how the Red Bulls play. We competed out there.”
Atlanta now sits 10th in the Eastern Conference standings and scored only 11 goals in 10 league matches.
“I’m worried when we don’t score goals,” Heinze said. “I’m also concerned when they score goals against us. The only way they teach me to improve is work. I’m going to continue to do the same job.”
Its also the sixth tie of the season for Atlanta in 10 league matches.
“I don’t like ties,” Heinze said. “I like to build when I lose and when I win. I don’t think I can take the right path to build only when we win. I do the opposite and tell my players that it helps to build when losing. When I lose, I don’t change and when I win is when I need to change.”
Atlanta United returns to action on the road July 3 against the Chicago Fire.