New York City FC decisively stopped the bleeding Saturday evening, earning their first win since their home opener.
After going 11 straight games without a victory New York managed a come from behind win against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Pennsylvania. The win also marked their first ever on the road, a milestone seemingly long over due considering how the team had been marketed to the world.
If we have learnt anything from the beginning of this season it is that generating a successful expansion team is significantly more complicated than developing a successful supporter’s base. That being said this win over the hot Philadelphia side who had, to this point, won three of their last four matches was deserved, while the effort must be continued, and improved on.
A comforting angle from June 6th game to put this victory into perspective was that key player Mix Diskerud was away on international duties for the United States Men’s National Team. As a result NYCFC Manager Jason Kreis once again had to tinker with new pieces in his diamond midfield.
Midfielders Thomas McNamara and Kwadwo Poku both earned their first starts for New York as the feisty Sebastian Velasquez got to nod over Mehdi Ballouchy.
The first half had some mistakes for New York City as the team who have emphasized cleaning up their game and staying focused lost possession easily a number of times. The back line New York held their own, but had much to thank McNamara as he came back often in the game to help clear the ball at critical times. Despite midfield mistakes the match was tied nil-nil at the half.
New York City characteristically was able to maintain the majority of possession during the match, although the Union managed to segregate them to midfield making back passes for the majority of the match. At the same time City seemed to be nervous when under pressure from Philadelphia who’s attack wasn’t necessarily cohesive through out the match. Regardless New York managed to break down long enough and the Union was able to notch a goal in the 46th minute my team-scoring leader C.J. Sapong.
The silver lining here would be the response by New York City as seven minutes later Thomas McNamara who had been a consistent positive influence despite early mistakes netted a beautiful goal from about 25 yards out. Working with fellow midfielder Poku, McNamara won a ball at midfield then found enough space to build a house. Poku then fed him the ball, and after a touch McNamara sniped a shot in the top right corner.
After equalizing Philadelphia would not sit back to defend, as disorganization on the back line would lead to some chances for the Union. New York Keeper Josh Saunders would once again show his metal late in the game managing to make 6 saves in the game. However despite the struggles New York would work with the opportunities they were given and go ahead late in the match.
Philadelphia would have a lapse in awareness, and focus late as Substitute Patrick Mullins would control the ball off of a throw in and power it past 2 defenders and an unawares keeper. A large weight was lifted off of NYCFC, but as with many of their outings they must do their absolute best to work on the little things, and improve their teamwork.
City was able to do enough good things that would outweigh the bad in the contest, and if they can manage to put forth as positive an effort as possible they do have the talent to grab a playoff position. The City’s future success will be based on being able to be smart and effective with the ball while maintaining composure when under pressure, which they were able to accomplish at times in Saturday nights game. As long as they stay organized and play within themselves they should be able to capitalize on the momentum they gained with this road win.
Next matchup for New York City Football club is against the Montreal Impact who themselves have struggled this season putting together a unified effort. Match is Saturday, June 13th. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET.