On Saturday, New York City FC welcomed Atlanta United FC to Yankee stadium for their first meeting of the season. Historically, the Pigeons were 5-4-4 in the regular season against their opponent going into the game. However, in the last six fixtures, including the playoffs, they were unbeaten with four wins and two draws.
As such, the team wanted to continue that streak against the Five Stripes, and they did just that. The two sides ended the fixture in a 1-1 draw. In some ways, it was disappointing, for NYCFC had about a third of the game plus stoppage time to dominate over the ten-man Atlanta side.
Additionally, some players had a really good match, while others were just okay. Notably, Maxime Chanot and James Sands looked incredible against Atlanta, and both easily could have had their best matches of the season.
Therefore, let’s take a look at the New York City FC player ratings from the first fixture of the three game home stand.
The NYCFC ratings for the goalkeeper and defenders
Luis Barraza (7.5/10)
Luis Barraza had one of his best matches of the season for New York City FC. His passes were more accurate, and he did not look lost while playing out of the back. He had just two saves on the night, but his defense is to thank for the limited chances toward goal. Then, his save on a header from Amar Sejdić was the save of the night. His quick reaction kept the match scoreless at that time, for without that speedy save, Atlanta would likely be leaving with three points.
And yes, he did give up a goal, but Giorgos Giakoumakis had an impossible-to-save header into the goal off of a corner kick. Plus, he was right in front of goal too, so there was nothing Barraza could do.
Braian Cufré (8/10)
Braian Cufré was again solid on the defense, and made plenty of critical interceptions, with a total of five all together. His ability to regain the possession and get the ball moving on the left side of the pitch allowed both himself and Talles Magno the freedom to run toward goal. In fact, the connection between the two, primarily in the first half, made it feel like they have been playing together for years.
Maxime Chanot (8.5/10)
Chanot had a fantastic game for NYCFC. He had some impressive moments throughout, including the challenge to regain the possession in the first half, and then he sent the ball toward goal. It went wide, but it was not a bad chance from his own half. Chanot was also the clearance guy, for he consistently cleared the ball out as needed.
The only reason he does not have 9/10 is due to the Atlanta goal. His marking could have been stronger at that moment, but Giakoumakis had a good jump over him to head the ball into the goal. There was nothing the defense could do once he made the successful attempt.
Thiago Martins (6.5/10)
Thiago Martins had a decent performance in the back, and in some ways acted as the cleanup guy. He ensured the ball was sent away from danger, and also kept the ball out of the net, with the exception of the lone Atlanta goal, which again, there was nothing that could be done. Atlanta did not get passed him often, and if someone did, the Brazilian was able to redeem himself by chasing back and defend on the second attempts.
It also might seem Martins did not do a lot, but compared to Chanot, he was quieter with his defensive efforts, while his fellow center-back was loud. As such, the two’s partnership truly aided with the defensive efforts throughout the entire fixture.
Mitja Ilenič (6/10)
Mitja Ilenič received another start for NYCFC, and did not disappoint, especially on the offensive front. The young left-back had multiple moments where he ran through two players on either side of him, and his ability to evade the Atlanta players was brilliant. Defensively, is was not his best performance, for he did allow some players to get by him. He also missed on some interception attempts, which is not what fans would want to see against a team like Atlanta.