Florian Valot's fourth-minute goal was all the New York Red Bulls needed to continue their regular-season success over Atlanta United FC, winning 1-0 on Saturday night in Group E play of the MLS Is Back Tournament near Orlando, Fla.
It did not take long for the Red Bulls (2-0-1, 7 points) to get on the score sheet as Kaku delivered a perfectly placed long pass to Valot, who had split the defense and remained onside just ahead of the box. From there, Valot didn't need to do much in slotting the ball past Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan.
That proved to be enough in the match at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex as the Red Bulls improved to 5-2-0 against Atlanta (2-1-0, 6 points) all-time during the regular season. Atlanta United did earn a victory over New York while winning the two-leg Eastern Conference final in 2018.
However, without injured star Josef Martinez (knee) and even though it recorded 14 overall shots, Atlanta's 27-match league streak with a goal ended on Saturday. The last time Atlanta United failed to score also came during a 1-0 loss to the Red Bulls on May 19, 2019.
Following Valot's goal, Atlanta turned up the heat. Its beat chance of the first half came when homegrown George Bello had a tasty look from the top left of the box in the 41st minute, but hit the crossbar. A pair of sprawling Guzan saves made sure Atlanta went into the break only down a goal.
Early in the second half, Atlanta's Manuel Castro was unable to convert from six yards off a cross when his attempt went high. Atlanta had other moments as the match wound down, and nearly leveled in the final seconds, but New York's 6-foot-5 keeper David Jensen pushed Adam Jahn's direct header over the bar.
The start of this match at was delayed roughly 45 minutes due to lightning in the area. As has been the case throughout the "MLS is Back Tournament," the starting 11 from both sides took a knee prior to kickoff in support of racial and social justice issues.
--Field Level Media