Eric Remedi laughed when asked if his offense - a goal and an assist - was a bonus to the defensive work he did in helping Atlanta United sweep aside NYCFC by an aggregate score of 4-1 in the semifinals of the MLS playoffs.
“It’s luck,” he said.
Remedi, purchased in the summer to partner with Jeff Larentowicz as defensive midfielders, was the man of the series in helping Atlanta United advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where the Five Stripes will play New York Red Bulls. Remedi will face a new task in trying to contain Kaku.
The Argentine’s first task against NYCFC was to man-mark midfielder Maxi Moralez, something he did very well. Moralez put just one shot on goal in the series and didn’t create a chance in the second game.
“He’s fantastic,” Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst said of Remedi. “He put in a ton of work. He covered a lot of ground tonight. Max (Moralez) is one of the best 10s in the game and shutting him down. Shutting him down is a big key to success against New York City, and Eric was all over the place. A really good performance.”
Remedi wanted to be physical with Moralez, who is just 5-foot-3 to Remedi’s 5-7. As such, Moralez was fouled 11 times by Atlanta United players in the series. Remedi didn’t receive a yellow card in either game.
However, Remedi also showed that he can get forward. His goal in the first leg at Yankee Stadium was just a tap in, but Remedi was in the right place in the right time for his his first goal for Atlanta United. His pass for Josef Martinez’s second goal in the 3-1 win in the second leg at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, showed a nice touch into space for his second assist this season.
“He’s a holding midfielder, and he is very accustomed to the role he is playing in the last two games,” manager Gerardo Martino said. “Over the course of the season he has been playing mostly with Jeff Larentowicz, but he is in a position now where he is flanked by two different midfielders. He is also very gifted technically, and you saw that on the assist he played to Josef Martinez.”