Atlanta United turns its attention to NYCFC

Atlanta United captain Matheus Rossetto (9) makes a shot during the first half of an MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, May 28, 2022.Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

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Atlanta United captain Matheus Rossetto (9) makes a shot during the first half of an MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, May 28, 2022.Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- Disappointed by the 2-1 loss Thursday at the Red Bulls, Atlanta United now must look forward to trying to earn points Sunday at NYCFC on the small pitch in Yankee Stadium, a place where they’ve never won a regular-season game.

The Five Stripes lost the first two games of this three-game road stretch, the longest of the season, by giving up late goals to remain stuck on 19 points and outside of the playoff spots.

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“There is not a lot of time to really analyze the situation,” manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “We just need to keep going. We played a very good game. We can build on that. Try to do similar things and try to have a good performance.”

Pineda said he liked the team’s personality against the Red Bulls. He liked that the players were able to handle the Red Bulls’ pressure and created numerous scoring opportunities, one of which resulted in the team scoring its first goal in seven previous games at Red Bull Arena.

“Hopefully, we can get three points (this time),” Pineda said.

ExploreInfo to know: Atlanta United at NYCFC

What Atlanta United must work on to improve the probability of securing the three points, according to Pineda, is to eliminate the individual mistakes that have plagued it this season, including the two that resulted in both of Red Bulls’ goals.

Pineda said it’s especially important for the team to manage the end of games. Toronto’s winning goal came in the 78th minute. Both of the Red Bulls’ goals came after the 80th minute, including the winner in the 89th.

Pineda said it almost feels as if his team has to play a perfect game to get three points.

Atlanta United also must try to control NYCFC striker Valentin Castellanos. Last year’s Golden Boot winner with 19 goals, Castellanos has scored eight in 13 appearances this season. Pineda said that Castellanos is tough to stop because he has pace, is good in the air and is good at finding pockets in a defense, turning and attacking.

The key to limiting his effectiveness is for Atlanta United to try to control possession. Pineda noted the team did a good job in its previous game in stopping Patrick Klimala from leading the Red Bulls’ attack. Klimala created only one chance and put one shot on target.

Captain Matheus Rossetto said the spirit of the team remains positive despite that it has won only one of its eight road games this season.

“I think that we don’t have to change the way we are playing because we are playing well,” he said. “Just small details that are proving costly. We know that. We have to focus on ourselves and continue to play the way we are.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 Atlanta United 2, New England 2

May 21 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

May 28 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 1

June 19 Atlanta United 2, Miami 0

June 25 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 1

June 30 New York Red Bulls 2, Atlanta United 1

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 21 at Columbus, 5:30 p.m., FS1

August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

August 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE