ATLANTA — Greg Garza and Chris McCann scored goals as Atlanta United drew with NYCFC, 2-2, on Sunday night in front of 45,001 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In a battle of the two top teams in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta extended its unbeaten streak to five consecutive matches while Ezequiel Barco made his team debut.
“I think we can use everything from tonight because from my point of view it’s possible that this is the best game that our team has played since I’ve been here,” Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino said.
Garza opened the scoring in the 29th minute, tapping home a rebound that was initially saved by Sean Johnson. Miguel Almirón’s shot came from the edge of the 18 and forced Johnson to make a diving save to his right, but he pushed it directly to Garza, who easily slotted it into the back of the net.
David Villa entered as a sub in the 35th minute and equalized three minutes later from the spot. Off of a counter attack, Jo Inge Berget got inside the Atlanta penalty area and was taken down by Michael Parkhurst. Villa stepped up and beat Brad Guzan with a shot to the lower left corner, despite Guzan guessing correctly.
Atlanta appeared to re-take the lead in the 41st minute off of an incredible shot from Darlington Nagbe. But the play was overturned from video review, as Josef Martinez was ruled to have committed an offside offense.
Early in the second half, Atlanta re-gained the lead in the 56th minute from McCann, his first career goal for Atlanta. Parkhurst kept the play alive by heading toward the left corner where Almirón latched onto it. The Paraguayan then got to the end line and chipped a ball toward the middle of the six-yard box where McCann redirected it into the back corner.
Alexander Ring equalized in the 73rd minute with a blistering shot from about 25 yards out. Atlanta appeared to have NCYFC bottled up, but the midfielder took a back pass from Villa and sent a rifle into the upper left corner of the goal, grazing the crossbar.
Atlanta United (4-1-1, 13 points) returns to action at Saturday, April 21 against LA Galaxy (10:30 p.m., FOX Sports Southeast).