New York City FC vs. Atlanta United
After NYCFC comfortably dispatched of the Philadelphia Union, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, this scintillating showdown of attacking juggernauts was born.
Both of the regular-season meetings were highly anticipated and both ended up draws.
In a 2-2 stalemate at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in April, David Villa and Alex Ring both struck for equalizers after Greg Garza and Chris McCann put the hosts in front in each half.
When the scene shifted to Yankee Stadium in June, NYCFC were the far better side, but they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. Alex Callens canceled out a Josef Martinez goal early in the second half in a match that proved to be Patrick Vieira’s last in charge of NYCFC.
Another storyline that game was Miguel Almiron missing the second half due to injury. The influential playmaker missed the final two games of the regular season with a hamstring injury and his health will be a major talking point.
FiveThirtyEight.com projection, first leg: NYCFC win 48 percent; Atlanta win 30 percent; draw 24 percent