Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda has been left frustrated with his side’s lack of clinical finishing but insisted there is no pressure as they travel to New York Red Bulls.
Atlanta conceded with two minutes left last time out to draw with Toronto FC 1-1 as they remain three points off the playoff positions.
With their final two games on the road, where they have only won three times all season, the odds are against the visitors but Pineda is backing his side to compete, despite their poor finishing frustrating him at times.
“We are Atlanta United and pressure is normal,” Pineda said.
“It’s about how we can recover from this game mentally and physically because there are going to be four games in a row at the end of the day and we need to be ready to go.
“But I don’t feel any different pressure than the same pressure that we always have being a big club with the big demands that Atlanta United has.”
“It’s how do you close out the game in a better way? I think scoring goals is the best way. When we are not able to do that because we are just not clinical, it is really hard.”
The Red Bulls scored an injury-time winner against CF Montreal to win 1-0, meaning victory in their final home fixture will guarantee their playoff berth for a 12th successive term.
While enjoying the celebrations with his players in Canada, head coach Gerhard Struber is expecting another tough test next game.
“Today, an explosion came over me and I had to celebrate together with my boys in this moment,” Struber said after the victory.
“A good feeling, but we have to look forward. We have a very, very big challenge on Wednesday against Atlanta.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New York Red Bulls – Carlos Coronel
Carlos Coronel has starred in goal for the Red Bulls and collected his 12th clean sheet of the campaign against Montreal, putting him one behind William Yarbrough and Joe Willis.
Atlanta United – Luiz Araujo
Luiz Araujo scored his fourth of the campaign against Toronto and has been involved in five of the last six goals his side have managed, with three goals and two assists in his previous four games.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Including playoffs, Atlanta United has just one win against the Red Bulls (D3 L7), a 3-0 home win in the 2018 playoffs. The Red Bulls (9.1 percent) are one of two teams (Seattle – P4 W0 D3 L1) Atlanta has won less than 25 percent of its games against in MLS.
– The Red Bulls have won seven of their last 10 games, including a 1-0 victory over CF Montréal on Saturday. The last six wins in that span have all been by one-goal margins, including five 1-0 victories.
– Atlanta United has won three of its last five road games (L2) including a 2-0 victory over Toronto in its last away contest. The three wins in five follows a run in which Atlanta failed to win any of 14 consecutive away matches from October 2020 to August 2021 (D7 L7).
– The Red Bulls last three home matches have all been won by 1-0 margins. Only one team in MLS history has recorded four straight 1-0 home wins: Kansas City in September-October 2004.
– Luiz Araújo, who scored Atlanta’s lone goal against Toronto on Saturday, has been involved in six of Atlanta’s seven goals since the beginning of October (3 goals, 3 assists), contributing to at least one goal in all five games in that time after recording just two goal contributions in his first eight MLS games.