Atlanta United and New York City FC sit atop the Eastern Conference standings in 2018’s early going, and they gave a glimpse of why at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday evening.

Playing from end to end at a breakneck pace for most of the 90 minutes, both sides carved out plenty of opportunities, with the hosts twice taking the lead via well-crafted goals only for NYCFC to strike back to keep pace and eventually take a point home to the Big Apple.

Greg Garza cleaned up the rebound of a Miguel Almiron shot to open the scoring. But David Villa – making his return from an injury layoff as a first-half replacement for the injured Ismael Tajouri-Shradi – equalized from the penalty spot after a flowing passing move.

Chris McCann restored ATLUTD’s lead with his first MLS goal, then Alex Ring banked a road point for NYCFC via a thunderous blast off the underside of the crossbar. Atlanta’s showcase offseason signing Ezequiel Barco made his MLS debut, earning a warm welcome from the home side but proving unable to break the deadlock.

Goals

  • 29′ – ATL – Greg Garza | WATCH
  • 38′ – NYC – David Villa (PK)
  • 56′ – ATL – Chris McCann | WATCH
  • 73′ – NYC – Alex Ring | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Sunday’s second 2-2 draw was gripping to watch, but it left bragging rights on the table for future meetings between these two well-built sides. (If you’re wondering: Atlanta visit Yankee Stadium on June 9.)
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ring is known for his work rate, distribution, intelligence and other attributes of a No. 6; his howitzer of a golazo also showcased a menacing shot as it bagged a road draw for NYCFC.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Villa’s entry was key in lifting his side. However, it didn’t quite outshine the relentless running and creativity of Miguel Almiron, who remains the jewel in the Five Stripes’ crown.

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