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New York City FC falls to Atlanta United for third consecutive East semis elimination

NYCFC fails to overcome its initial 1-0 aggregate deficit as struggle to reach the conference final continues.

Alexander Callens of New York City challenges Miguel

Alexander Callens of New York City challenges Miguel Almiron of Atlanta United for a header during the Eastern Conference semifinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Domènec Torrent’s first go at the MLS Cup playoffs started hot and ended ice cold.

New York City FC’s season came to a disappointing end after their 3-1 loss at Atlanta United on Sunday in the second and final leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals. They lost the series, 4-1, on aggregate.

The postseason loss and elimination mark the third straight year that NYCFC advanced to and was eliminated from the conference semis.

NYCFC needed a 2-0, or even a 2-1 win to advance to the next round. Instead, it was Atlanta United grabbing a pair of goals in the first half. The first came on a penalty kick by Josef Martinez in the 25th minute, followed by the second on a free kick into the upper corner of the net by Miguel Almiron in the 42nd minute.

Maxime Chanot headed in a deflected free kick just before halftime to pull the Blues back to 2-1. 

NYCFC created a few chances to pull even. However, Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan made the necessary saves to end NYCFC’s comeback attempt. Martinez sealed the win with an easy goal, his second of the game, in the 84th minute.

Much like the first leg at Yankee Stadium last Sunday, NYCFC couldn’t figure out how to get through Atlanta in the offensive third, nor could they truly handle Atlanta’s high press. David Villa, NYCFC's longtime team captain, was a nonfactor in what might have been his last match with the Blues.

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