Red Bulls open campaign with win over toothless Atlanta United
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Florian Valot's confident finish was enough for the New York Red Bulls to log a 1-0 win over Atlanta United on Saturday.

Chris Armas' outfit was a deserved winner but Atlanta almost equalized at the death when Adam Jahn's header was excellently tipped over the bar by David Jensen.

Valot had the vision of Kaku to thank for his gilt-edged chance in the fourth minute. Kaku was inside his own half and near the Red Bulls' technical area but posted a ball through the heart of Atlanta's defense with one swing of his left leg. It was the best pass of the MLS is Back Tournament thus far, and Valot calmly slotted the ball past Brad Guzan.

The Red Bulls were impressive in the first half but Atlanta United almost leveled when George Bello smashed a shot off the underside of the bar.

The Red Bulls' press was causing Atlanta problems, with Frank de Boer's side struggling to string more than a few passes together. The Five Stripes' chances of breaking a six-game winless streak in regular-season meetings with their opponents appeared rather bleak.

Pity Martinez seemed the likeliest to craft chances for Atlanta and sent a series of promising deliveries into the box. Unfortunately, Josef Martinez wasn't on the end of them and there was little hope of goals in his absence.

De Boer faces a daunting test in trying to ensure the 2020 season isn't ruined by the absence of the 2018 campaign's Most Valuable Player. Martinez tore his ACL during Atlanta's first match of the MLS campaign on February 29 and faces a race against time to be fit for the regular season's final stretch.

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Red Bulls open campaign with win over toothless Atlanta United
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