The Sunday showdown between first-place Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has all the ingredients to be the most dynamic game on the weekend MLS slate.
The game features the two highest-scoring teams in MLS and three of the league’s top four goal-scorers.
But one thing will be missing — Red Bulls veteran goalkeeper Luis Robles.
On Saturday, Robles was ruled out against Atlanta with a knee injury. He will miss his first MLS regular-season start since September 2012, a stretch of 183 consecutive games. Robles is considered week to week with the injury.
“Even though the streak may be done, please know that my overwhelming desire to lift this organization to the highest of highs continues,” Robles said in a statement on the Red Bulls’ website.
New York certainly will miss him against the high-scoring Five Stripes.
United (8-2-1) has an MLS-best 25 goals, 14 coming from the explosive duo of Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron. Martinez leads MLS in goals with eight. Almiron is tied with Red Bulls star Bradley Wright-Phillips for the third-most goals in the league with six.
Atlanta owns the best record and most points (25) in MLS. United bounced back from a rare home loss to Sporting Kansas City with an impressive win at Orlando City last week.
“It’s very important, especially in a league where winning on the road is so difficult,” Atlanta coach Tata Martino said after the win over Orlando City. “I think it’s really important and I think we’re deserving of it, and even more so coming off of a loss at home (to Sporting KC) on Wednesday.”
The Five Stripes will try to keep the momentum against a Red Bulls squad that is in good form.
New York (9-6-3) arrives in Atlanta having won three in a row, including two victories over quality competition New York FC and Los Angeles FC.
The Red Bulls won in Atlanta 2-1 last season. The teams played to a draw in their other meeting last season.
—Field Level Media