We’re still more than a week out from the New England Revolution’s opening match of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs – they’ll host an Eastern Conference Semifinal at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, November 30 (GET TICKETS) – but the Revs will finally learn their opponent for that game on Sunday afternoon when New York City FC hosts Atlanta United FC at Yankee Stadium (3 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN Deportes).
NYCFC earned the right to host the Round One contest as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, compiling a record of 14-11-9 for 51 points. Atlanta (13-9-12) also finished the season on 51 points, but they were edged out for homefield advantage based on the overall wins tiebreaker.
Here are a few things to know about the Revs’ two potential playoff opponents.
NYCFC AND ATLANTA BOTH HOT HEADING INTO PLAYOFFS
Whichever side New England faces in the Eastern Conference Semifinal will be on a lengthy unbeaten run, as both NYCFC and Atlanta finished the regular season in good form.
New York City FC enters the playoffs unbeaten in five (3-0-2), outscoring opponents 12-3 in that stretch to finish tied for the third-highest scoring attack in MLS (56), behind only the Revs (65) and Sporting Kansas City (58). The hosts have been particularly strong at Yankee Stadium in 2021, going 6-1-2 in the nine games they played in The Bronx, scoring 2.78 goals per game at the venue.
Atlanta, meanwhile, have been one of Major League Soccer’s best sides through the second half of the season. The Five Stripes have gone 11-3-4 since the start of August, a turnaround that coincided with the arrivals of head coach Gonzalo Pineda and DP forward Luiz Araújo (four goals, four assists), and they’ll head to Yankee Stadium on a six-game unbeaten run (3-0-3).
NYCFC HELD EDGE OVER ATLANTA IN REGULAR SEASON SERIES
New York City FC and Atlanta met twice in the regular season, and it was the New Yorkers who held the upper hand with one win and one draw. The sides clashed back on June 23 at Red Bull Arena, where NYCFC claimed a 1-0 win courtesy of an Ismael Tajouri-Shradi strike, and more recently on October 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where they played to a 1-1 draw. Atlanta held a lead into the late stages of that match thanks to an early Marcelino Moreno goal, but Gudi Thórarinsson leveled for NYCFC with a stunning free kick in the dying stages.
REVS WON FOUR OF FIVE MEETINGS WITH NYCFC AND ATLANTA
Either side will present a stern test in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but the Revs did have success against both NYCFC and Atlanta in the regular season. New England went 2-1-0 against NYCFC, while they won both of their meetings with the Five Stripes.
Only two of those matches took place at Gillette Stadium – the site of the Eastern Conference Semifinal – but the Revolution won both, beating Atlanta 2-1 back on May 1, and defeating NYCFC by the same scoreline on September 11.