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On Frame: Showdown in the South between New York City FC and Atlanta United

Prolific goal scorer Josef Martínez may be unavailable for Atlanta United Sunday.

This week’s episode of On Frame with Pro Soccer USA’s Glenn Crooks features reaction from New York City FC midfielder Keaton Parks following City’s come-from-behind win over the Houston Dynamo, plus a preview of City’s huge match at Atlanta United on Sunday with Pro Soccer USA’s Chris Fuhrmeister. Finally, Crooks takes a look back at the week for Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya with Pro Soccer USA’s Joe Tansey.

NYCFC rallied for a 3-2 win over a 10-man Dynamo side at Yankee Stadium Thursday night. Taty Castellanos came off the bench to score goals in the 83rd minute and second-half stoppage time.

“All the guys on the bench are always ready to come in and do their part. Taty had a huge game for us,” Parks said of his teammate’s performance. “Obviously, he came in and scored two goals for us, got us the win. It’s important. All the players are working hard every day in training, and they’re always ready to come in off the bench. That’s exactly what he did.”

Next up for City, which sits third in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, is an away day at second-place Atlanta United. The teams meet Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with playoff seeding, and perhaps the automatic Concacaf Champions League berth that comes with first place in the conference, on the line. Atlanta may be without center forward Josef Martínez, who strained an adductor in training earlier this week. Should that be the case, Argentine compatriots Ezequiel Barco and Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez may be in line to start up top. For the latter, this the sort of important game that gives him the opportunity to prove his worth.

“Pity Martínez, similar to Barco last year, it’s been a tough year for him,” Fuhrmeister said. “He has not at all lived up to the hype of being the 2018 South American Footballer of the Year, Copa Libertadores champion.”

Bedoya made headlines last Sunday when, after scoring a goal at D.C. United, he screamed into a field microphone, “Hey Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let’s go.” The comment came at the end of a weekend during which at least 31 people were killed in two separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Bedoya was named MLS Player of the Week.

“There are a lot of layers to it,” Tansey said. “But you also realize, this is a guy who, after the Parkland [Fla.] shooting last year, had a shirt underneath his jersey honoring the victims. So he’s obviously someone who’s been deeply affected by these personally, not just seeing them on TV and wanting to do something. There are connections to a place that was affected directly by a mass shooting before. He’s someone who never holds back on his opinions.”

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