New York City FC vs. Atlanta United – MLS, Sunday, November 21, 2021

| November 17, 2021 4:41 am PDT

New York City FC and Atlanta United face off in the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs after finishing the regular season locked on 51 points in the Eastern Conference.

Needless to say, this is destined to be a close game between two evenly matched teams.

  • Date: Sunday, November 21, 2021
  • Time: 15:00 (ET)
  • Venue: Yankee Stadium
  • New York City FC: 4th (14-9-11)
  • Atlanta United: 5th (13-12-9)

NYCFC heads into the postseason on a five-game unbeaten streak, while the Five Stripes have avoided defeat in each of their previous six outings.

Below, I attempt to foresee the outcome of Sunday’s showdown. After looking at the odds and analyzing teams, I share my New York City FC vs. Atlanta United prediction and betting pick.

New York City FC vs. Atlanta United Odds

New York City FC to Win1.67
The Draw3.80
Atlanta United to Win4.75
New York City FC (-1)2.88

As you can see, the top Major League Soccer sportsbooks view New York City FC (1.67) as the obvious favorite to win this one, leaving Atlanta United (4.75) as the clear outsider.

Of course, Ronny Deila’s men have the home-field advantage on Sunday. But you would be foolish to write off the Five Stipes altogether.

In actual fact, I really like the look of the giant price for the away win at first glance. Before we settle on a prediction for New York City vs. Atlanta United, let’s take a closer look at the teams.

New York City Team News and Analysis

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that New York City FC has been one of the most inconsistent teams in Major League Soccer this year.

The Boys in Blue have produced plenty of standout performances across the course of the season, but they have also endured lengthy winless runs and several dips in form.

Thankfully for Deila’s men, they head into the playoffs on a five-game unbeaten streak. They have picked up three wins and two draws since their last loss, scoring 12 goals in the process.

A large portion of those goals was scored by Valentin Castellanos, who recently clinched the Golden Boot. The Argentine DP has bagged 19 goals and eight assists in MLS this year.

2021 MLS Golden Boot Leaderboard

  • Valentin Castellanos – 19 goals, 8 assists
  • Ola Kamara – 19 goals, 5 assists
  • Javier Hernandez – 17 goals, 3 assists

Having netted six goals in his previous four appearances, Castellanos is one of several elite players who could decide the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Alongside Castellanos, Jesus Medina (9 goals, 2 assists) and Maxi Moralez (3 goals, 11 assists) have also shone throughout the campaign. The lethal trio has the ability to expose any defense in the league.

Still, the fact that Deila’s men have kept just three clean sheets in their last 14 games is a cause for concern. Let’s not forget that Atlanta also has a deadly forward line.

Assessing Atlanta United’s Chances

Atlanta’s mid-season managerial change has proven to be an excellent decision. Gonzalo Pineda replaced Gabriel Heinze in August, and the club hasn’t looked back since.

Remarkably, the Five Stripes have won ten of their 16 games since Pineda’s appointment – suffering just three defeats along the way.

Across the final 15 regular-season matches, only New England picked up more points than Atlanta in the East. Pineda’s side took 30 points from a possible 45, conceding just 12 goals in the process.

Josef Martinez has played a key role in the club’s resurgence. The Venezuelan striker has netted ten goals in his last 15 appearances, underlining his ability.

With Marcelino Moreno (9 goals, 5 assists), Ezequiel Barco (7 goals, 6 assists), and Luiz Araujo (4 goals, 3 assists) supporting Martinez, Atlanta is capable of blowing away any MLS opponent.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the Five Stripes’ defense has improved drastically. They have only conceded six goals in their past eight matches, achieving three shutouts in that time.

If the 2018 MLS Cup champions play their cards right, they could find themselves in the latter stages of the postseason once again.

Prediction for New York City vs. Atlanta United

With prolific forwards on both sides, New York City and Atlanta United are destined to produce a memorable encounter at Yankee Stadium.

But who will come out on top?

Ultimately, there is very little between these teams at the moment. That said, the Five Stripes have been one of the most consistent teams in the league over the past few months.

It is also worth noting that NYCFC hasn’t made it past the conference semifinals in each of the previous five seasons. For one reason or another, the Boys in Blue always seem to choke in the playoffs.

For that reason, I can see Atlanta edging out New York City on Sunday.

New York City vs. Atlanta United Pick

Pick
  • Atlanta United to Win
    4.75

The Five Stripes have played some excellent soccer in recent weeks. With that in mind, odds of 4.75 for the away win seem too good to miss.

Don’t get me wrong, I expect New York City to put up a decent fight. But if Pineda’s men bring their A-game to Yankee Stadium, they will be able to overcome NYCFC.

If you’re wagering on the MLS playoffs, make sure you check out my other match previews below.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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