FT: New York City 2, Orlando 0
And it’s all over in the Bronx! The Pigeons win comfortably in the end, paced by second half goals scored eleven minutes apart by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Maxi Moralez. After a shaky, choppy beginning to the game, New York City shifted into control mode. The Pigeons continually increased the pressure on Orlando, and the Lions eventually broke.
We can now say it: with three straight wins, New York City is off to a scorching start in MLS. Next up for New York City — a field trip to exotic Foxboro Stadium to take on the New England Revolution. That game is on Saturday, March 24. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m., and will be televised on YES.
90’: The fourth official indicates there will be four minutes of stoppage time. The Pigeons are in control, and are now working to see this out.
88’: New York City makes their final sub — it’s Maxi Moralez coming off for Kwame Awuah, who’s getting his first minutes of the season. Frasquito was sharp today.
73’: GOOOOOOOALLLL MAXI MORALEZ!!! NEW YORK CITY 2, ORLANDO 0!!!
The Pigeons swarm all over the Orlando back line. In desperation, they try to clear the ball, only to turn it over to Saad Abdul-Salaam. The defender feeds the ball to Jesus Medina, who delivers an absolutely exquisite layoff to Moralez. Moralez shoots, and scores. The young Paraguayan DP has scored or assisted in each of his first three games for New York City.
71’: Oh, this is simply heartbreaking. Only five minutes after entering the game, Matarrita is leaving the game injured. It looks like Matarrita injured his right quadriceps muscle.
He’ll be replaced by Tommy McNamara. Matarrita’s career with New York City is the definition of injury-plagued. After becoming the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, he missed most of last year with injuries, making only eight starts. Despite that, the Costa Rican fought back to make appearances in the playoffs for the Pigeons.
66’: And scarce minutes later, Tajouri-Shradi’s day is done. He leaves to the applause of the crowd, and will be replaced by Ronald Matarrita. It’s the first New York City sub.
62’: GOOOOOOOOAAAAALLL ISMAEL TAJOURI-SHRADI!!! NEW YORK CITY 1, ORLANDO 0!!!
The Libyan striker breaks the deadlock! Orlando’s Yoshi Yotun passes back to Joe Bendik. In a moment of utter madness, the Orlando goalkeeper literally passes the ball to Tajouri-Shradi, who takes full advantage of the gift. It’s his first MLS goal.
In fairness, Yotun should’ve just cleared the ball, instead of passing back...but still. The Pigeons have a fully deserved goal.
53’: CLOSE FOR MAXI! After Orlando’s Justin Meram came thisclose to putting the Lions in front, New York City barrels down the field deftly. A nice piece of footwork by Alex Ring ends up with Maxi Moralez breaking free and shooting with his left foot.
Like Meram, he just barely misses.
The game is still scoreless, but it is more offensively-oriented than the first half.
45’: The second half begins with no changes. New York City will attack towards its supporters section. This section is certainly wondering just how much longer Vieira will stick with Wallace as a starter. Just what kind of leverage does the Costa Rican winger has over the manager that compels him to start Wallace? Wallace hasn’t been a factor — X, Y, Z or otherwise -- since at least May of last year.
You know who might make a difference? Jonathan Lewis, who seemingly acquainted himself well in limited playing time last year, and actually, you know, scored goals. Winning ones, even.
HT: It’s scoreless at the half, after three minutes of stoppage time. New York City grew into the match, and now control the run of play, but their better play hasn’t been rewarded with a goal. Wallace came closest in the 34th minute, but aside from that, Orlando’s defense has been up to the task.
We’ll see what kinds of adjustments manager Patrick Vieira makes at the half, if any.
34’: OFF THE POST! Yangel Herrera turns and whips in a cross. Rodney Wallace rises up to deliver the header and it caroms off the post. That’s the closest New York City has gotten to scoring. Wallace has probably been the sharpest Pigeon attacker, but not by much. Tajouri-Shradi, Medina, and Wallace have circulated around, but none of them have managed to stamp themselves on the game.
26’: The Pigeons have moved the ball deftly this half, but lack sharpness in the final third. It is extraordinary that New York City is so dependent on David Villa. The Spanish legend failed a fitness test before the game and was a late scratch. The team signed Norwegian forward Jo Inge Berget to deputize for him, but Berget has yet to make an appearance this season; he missed today’s game due to the flu.
18’: We’re nearly 20 minutes into the match. There’s not much flow to the game, yet. There’s certain to be some stoppage time in the first half after Orlando’s Jonathan Spector was shaken up in the passage of play. The Lions have had the better of the run of play and look more likely to score.
If you’re wondering why the game hasn’t started, it’s because Orlando got stuck in traffic on the way to the stadium.
Due to Orlando City SC’s late arrival to the stadium, there will be a delay to today’s kick-off. The kick-off was originally scheduled for 3:55 p.m. but will now take place at 4:06. p.m.— New York City FC (@NYCFC) March 17, 2018
New York City Starting XI:
4-3-3, L to R: Johnson; Sweat, Callens, Chanot, Abdul-Salaam; Ring, Herrera, Moralez; Wallace, Tajouri-Shradi, Medina.
Bench: Stuver (GK); Matarrita, Awuah, Ibeagha (D); Lewis, McNamara, Ofori (M).
Orlando City Starting XI:
4-3-1-2, L to R: Bendik; El-Munir, Tarek, Spector, Allen; Higuita, Johnson, Yotun, Kljestan; Mueller, Meram.
Bench: Laryea, Colmán, Lindley, Sutter, Sane, Villarreal, Edwards, Jr.
- Suspended: None for NYCFC; MF Pierre da Silva for Orlando.
- Injured: OUT: David Villa, Anton Tinnerholm (fitness test); Jo Inge Berget (flu) for NYCFC; Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing sarcoma), Dom Dwyer (quad strain), Oriol Rosell (fitness); QUESTIONABLE: Stefano Pinho (ankle) for Orlando.
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero; Assistant referees: Brian Poeschel, Brian Dunn; 4th official: Daniel Radford; VAR: Alan Kelly.
How To Watch
Match date & time: March 17, 2018, 3:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx
TV: Univision, Univision Deportes
Local Radio: WNYE 91.5 FM — English (Crooks, Kolker, Masur, Lawrence); WADO 1280 AM — Spanish (Abramowitz, Judas).
All-time series: Despite their contrasting fortunes in the league, Orlando leads the all-time series 5-2-2. Both teams have scored 14 goals against each other, so this promises to be a fairly high-scoring, taut affair. Orlando also has the edge over the Pigeons at Yankee Stadium, with two wins there. Their last meeting in the Bronx resulted in a 2-1 Lions win, on April 23 of last year.
This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.