The availability of Anton Tinnerholm (concussion) is still a question. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
Sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings, New York City FC is riding high on an eight-game unbeaten streak, with two tough opponents on the horizon with little room for error during these final two weeks of the Major League Soccer regular season.
NYCFC can clinch the conference crown with a victory against Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium Wednesday at 7 p.m.
City will be put to the test, hosting the defending champions second-place Atlanta United – the only team since Aug. 11 to score two goals vs NYCFC and hand the Eastern Conference leaders a loss. However, a 10-5-1 home record and the potential injury omission of Atlanta’s Josef Martinez could help NYCFC well-equipped to maintain conference supremacy.
The status of right back Anton Tinnerholm, who suffered a concussion in the 1-1 draw at FC Dallas Sunday, is still to be determined.
Head coach Domènec Torrent’s side will play its remaining two matches on the road – first at Gillette Stadium Sept. 29 against seventh-place New England Revolution, which is fighting to stay above the playoff line before finishing out Decision Day Oct. 6 against third-place Philadelphia Union.
NYCFC extended its undefeated streak to eight games via that tie with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium Sunday. Valentin Castellanos gave City the lead with the earliest goal in club history, after 39 seconds.
Atlanta won for a second consecutive game, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Pity Martínez capped the win with his fourth goal this season, after Emerson Hyndman netted his first MLS goal.
The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Josef Martínez netted goals on either side of halftime, leading Atlanta United to a 2-1 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Aug. 11.
Atlanta has gained results in four of the five league meetings between the teams; the clubs played to a pair of draws in their two regular-season matchups a year ago. NYCFC’s lone win in the series came in the first meeting between the teams, a 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium May 7, 2017.
The teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year, with Atlanta United advancing 4-1 on aggregate, winning the first leg 1-0 in the Bronx before taking the home leg by a 3-1 scoreline.