HARRISON, N.J. — The Supporters’ Shield race is on.
Danny Royer and Tim Parker scored a goal in each half to lift the shorthanded New York Red Bulls to a 2-0 win over Atlanta United in front of an announced crowd of 22,057 Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls (19-7-5) moved to within a point of first-place Atlanta (19-6-6) in the Shield race with three games to play for both Eastern Conference foes.
The Red Bulls were on the front foot for the majority of the first half and took a deserved lead in the 39th minute when Royer buried a penalty kick to the left of goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who guessed the other way, after Chris McCann handled the ball in the box. It was Royer’s 11th goal of the season.
That was the second time referee Robert Sibiga pointed to the spot in the first half. The first, when Alex Muyl went down as Guzan dived for the ball in the 25th minute, was reversed following Video Review.
After absorbing pressure for the first 30 minutes of the second half, the Red Bulls doubled their lead in the 75th minute on Tim Parker’s first goal of the season. Muyl beat Guzan to a Marc Rzatkowski through ball and slid to push the ball in front of the open goal where Parker slammed home.
Parker had a similar chance in the first half, but he was ruled offside.
The Red Bulls had a golden chance to make it 3-0 late when Kaku stepped to the spot after Eric Remedi was called for a hand ball in the box. But Guzan dived to his right to save the low attempt.
Despite being without arguably their two best players in suspended forward Bradley Wright-Phillips and injured midfielder Tyler Adams (back), the Red Bulls played their best 45 minutes of the season in the first half.
Kemar Lawrence played like a man possessed, first setting up Brian White, Wright-Phillips’ replacement, with a whipped in cross in the opening minute that the rookie headed over the crossbar.
Later in the half he raced back to tackle the ball away from Hector Villalba when Atlanta tried to hit the Red Bulls in transition and forced Julian Gressel into a yellow card for a late challenge two minutes from halftime.