Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 0: Player ratings

Atlanta United played NYCFC on Sunday in the first leg of an Eastern Conference semifinal in the MLS playoffs. The game was played at Yankee Stadium. (Atlanta United)

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Atlanta United played NYCFC on Sunday in the first leg of an Eastern Conference semifinal in the MLS playoffs. The game was played at Yankee Stadium. (Atlanta United)

My ratings for Atlanta United's players after Sunday's 1-0 win against NYCFC in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal series at Yankee Stadium. The second leg will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Nov. 11.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, 8: Didn't have to make a save, claimed two crosses and punched another way. He was strong in the penalty box and good with his distribution.

Fullback Franco Escobar, 7.5: Came close to scoring his second goal with a toe-poke in the 34th minute. ... Sprung a counter with a nice pass to Josef Martinez in the 55th minute. ... His passing wasn't great (52.4 percent), but most of that was  reflection of Atlanta United playing long balls out of the back instead of short passes. ... finished with three tackles and minimized impact of NYCFC's fullbacks.

Centerback Michael Parkhurst, 8: Huge movement and clearance in the 8th minute. ... Hustled back in the 62nd minute to stop a counter. ... Had three tackles, which is rare for him but showed the toughness that each of Atlanta United's players displayed.

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, 8.5:  A rock in the middle. ... Though he conceded five fouls, he played under control and tied for a team-high four tackles. ... NYCFC could find no joy in the middle.

Fullback Greg Garza, 7.5: His first start since undergoing shoulder surgery in late May. ... He got up and down the flanks and would have had a goal if not for an excellent save by Sean Johnson. ... Just adds a different dimension to Atlanta United's offense, and added a bit of toughness to the defense with his willingness to throw himself into tackles.

Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, 8: One of two player son Atlanta United's roster who has won an MLS Cup, he showed every bit of what he knows with a great performance. ... He and Eric Remedi combined to mostly negate Miaxi Moralez Ronald Matarrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

Midfielder Eric Remedi, 8: Yellow card for breaking up an attack in the seventh minute. ...  Scored his first goal this season in the 37th minute to give Atlanta United a 1-0 lead. ... He and Larentowicz  had their best performance as a pairing.

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe, 7.5: Got higher up the field than he typically does. ... Even with Atlanta United's change in tactics, he still completed almost 80 percent of his passes. ... Won three fouls.

Midfielder Julian Gressel, 7.5: He was physical on defense, threatening on offense and good in transition.

Midfielder Miguel Almiron, 7: Back after missing the past two games with a strained hamstring. ... Goal was pulled back when he was ruled to be offside after use of replay. ... Showed his work on offense and defense in his half of play. ...

Striker Josef Martinez, 7.5: Excellent half-volleyed shot was pushed away by  Sean Johnson and turned into the goal by Remedi. ... Threw his body into a tackle to block bicycle kick late in the first half. ...


Hector Villalba (on for Almiron, 46), 4: Wasteful on a few chances. ... Seemed to lack that extra gear that makes him dangerous on counterattacks. ... Was subbed off because manager Gerardo Martino thought he was dealing with a recurring adductor injury. ... He said he was fine.

Ezequiel Barco (on for Villalba, 85), 7: Ran his tail off on defense in the final five minutes.