Red Bulls midfielder KaKu (10) celebrates with Red Bulls forward Tom Barlow (74) after Barlow’s goal. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — Regardless what the team does, Atlanta United still can’t beat the Red Bulls on the latter’s home turf.
The Red Bulls’ latest success occurred Sunday.
Despite playing with 10 men for 55 minutes, New York recorded a 1-0 win over the reigning MLS Cup champions in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference final. In that confrontation, Atlanta eliminated the Red Bulls from the playoffs, even though they won the second game of the aggregate-goals series at RBA.
Tom Barlow’s first MLS goal was all the 10-men Red Bulls needed as they snapped Atlanta’s five-game winning streak and 20-minute shutout streak as well.
The Red Bulls managed to hold MLS scoring champion Josef Martinez scoreless, although he had two particularly notable scoring opportunities.
In the 29th minute, his first chance started with a near-full-field pass from Julian Gressel. Martinez beat Red Bulls defender Amro Tarek and left him on the ground, but Tarek managed to poke the ball away while still lying on the ground just as Martinez was about to strike.
Six minutes later, Red Bulls center back Tim Parker knocked Martinez off-balance as he raced with the ball toward goal. Martinez got the shot off, but referee Robert Siriga awarded a free kick just outside the box and hit Parker with a straight red card, leaving the home side with 10 men.
Even they were playing with a one-man disadvantage, the Red Bulls’ defense held fast and their attack managed to find a goal.
Barlow, who replaced Brian White in the 55th minute, proved to be the hero some 10 minutes later.
He got on the end of a Daniel Royer cross, changing direction to head past goalkeeper Brad Guzan for the lead and the end of the Atlanta scoreless streak.