On Saturday, New York City FC welcomed the only club sitting ahead of them in the Supporters' Shield race, Atlanta United. Heading into the game, both clubs were well aware of how important the match was as the winner would move top of the Supporters' Shield race.
The clubs were both missing players through both injuries and international duty. On top of that, Miguel Almiron exited the field at the start of the second half for an injury which his fans and teammates alike will hope is not too serious.
The first half was heavily in the host's favor as David Villa and company were attacking with ease but not quite finding the back of the net. The two lone strikes which found their way to goal came from NYCFC as Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and the rest of the Five Stripes were nullified for most of the half.
In the eighth minute, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi worked some magic before finding Sebastien Ibeagha offside at the far post. This wasn't the only offside call that NYCFC suffered from as David Villa's runs were consistently one step ahead of the defenders. El Guaje found himself offside three times in the first half with two of them coming in the closing moments of the first half.
In the 30th minute, Brad Guzan came up with a big stop on a deflected David Villa pushing the shot over the bar. Just prior to that Maxi Moralez picked the ball off Michael Parkhurst before trying to round Guzan but the former USMNT shot-stopper would not allow it pushing the ball away.
In the midst of the first half action, Miguel Almiron went down injured as previously mentioned which meant the halftime whistle was the marking of his substitution.
It didn't take long for NYCFC to concede as they've picked up the unfortunate habit of doing in recent weeks. Josef Martinez proved to be the most clinical player on the field as he converted a wonderful cross from Julian Gressel in the 49th minute.
After that, Atlanta struggled to create anything else as NYCFC regained the confidence they built in the first half. David Villa found another few opportunities which would normally have him running off in celebration but he couldn't match Martinez's clinical nature on the day.
Helping Guzan on the day was his posts as Jesus Medina and Maxi Moralez both struck woodwork with the latter doing it in the closing moments of the game. However, prior to that, Moralez's corner was flicked on by David Villa before finding a diving Alex Callens who put home his first goal of the season. This was the final goal of the game despite NYCFC's relentless attack in the final moments of the match.
On most occasions, NYCFC would be leaving the field the happier of the two but today they didn't tuck away their chances and Atlanta will be happy to have escaped with a point.
Following NYCFC's match on Saturday, they'll remain at home and host defending MLS champions, Toronto FC. Then, they'll head on the road to take on Nemanja Nikolic and the Chicago Fire before returning home to meet with Hudson River rivals, New York Red Bulls.
For Saturday's visitors, they head to MapFre Stadium to take on the Columbus Crew before hosting the Chicago Fire in a U.S. Open Cup match. Then they'll welcome a high-flying Portland Timbers team to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to put their skills to the test.