FT: NEW YORK CITY 4, REAL SALT LAKE 0.
Arguably, this game was over after the first half, when New York City scored three times. Maxi Moralez was the key man tonight, scoring on a penalty and generally conducting the offense with aplomb. It’s the third time that the Pigeons have won a game by four goals, and it’s their first win against a team that had their number in their first three encounters.
More importantly: New York City are the pacesetters in Major League Soccer. Still unbeaten after tonight, and with their most complete performance yet, they have five wins and one draw. They square off against Atlanta United on Sunday in what will be a massive game for both teams.
85’: Real Salt Lake have grown into the game over the last 10 minutes, but that’s not saying much. New York City have calmly dealt with the RSL threats, absorbing the pressure and — this is crucial — maintaining possession.
75’: Sebastian Ibeagha comes on for Alexander Callens. With Atlanta looming on Sunday, Patrick Vieira decides to give one of his most reliable players a rest for the last 15 minutes of the match. Callens has played every minute of every match since joining the team — until now.
70’: GOOOAAAALLL EBENEZER OFORI!!! NEW YORK CITY 4 - RSL 0!!!
It’s his first MLS goal! Maxi Moralez does the hard work keeping control of the ball on the touchline, then he cuts it back to a sea of onrushing Pigeon attackers. Ofori is the man on the spot, and he slots home.
66’: Alexander Ring on for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. This is going to switch things up a bit, formation-wise. Looks like a 4-4-1-1, but really, with how fluidly New York City are moving around, that’s kind of immaterial.
With the subs, New York City’s pressure has slackened somewhat, but they still have firm control of this game.
58’: David Villa on for Jo Inge Berget. RSL’s Mike Petke also makes a change, taking off Luis Silva for Pablo Ruiz.
53’: New York City have picked up where they left off. RSL are doing their level best to take the game to the Pigeons, but they just can’t break New York City’s spells of possession.
Another build up by NYC results in Rimando scrambling around. The ball winds up at Moralez’s feet, but he puts the shot over the crossbar.
HT: NEW YORK CITY 3 - REAL SALT LAKE 0
Easily one of the best halves of soccer that New York City have played at home. And they’ve done it without two of their best players.
This team is for real, folks.
40’: GOOOOOOAAAALLL NEW YORK CITY! JO INGE BERGET!!! NEW YORK CITY 3 - RSL 0!!!
Jo Inge Berget isn’t a goal scorer, but that’s as slick and composed a finish as you’ll see. Ronald Matarrita starts the sequence with a long pass to Jesus Medina. A silky touch and flick from Medina absolutely eviscerated the RSL back line, and Berget knew what to do from there. He runs onto the ball, shoots, and scores. It’s his first MLS goal.
New York City are absolutely rampant here in the Bronx.
38’: It’s been one-way traffic this entire first half for New York City. To give you an idea: the Pigeons average four corner kicks a match. They just took their seventh of the first half. This has been an excellent performance by New York City. Real Salt Lake aren’t a bad team; they’ve just that much trouble with New York City.
30’: GOOOALLL NEW YORK CITY! MAXI MORALEZ! NEW YORK CITY 2 - RSL 0
Moralez calmly slots home the penalty; Rimando can only watch in despair. It’s a fully deserved lead for the Pigeons, who’ve completely suffocated the visitors from the Beehive State from the start of the game.
In fact, RSL is lucky that it’s 2-0; Ronald Matarrita has had two shots — one off the crossbar, one just past the post — that justly should’ve been goals.
Maxi Moralez weaves and bobs in the Salt Lake penalty — and gets taken down by RSL’s Justen Glad! Mark Geiger points to the spot!
In review, the contact looks awfully soft. But the evidence to overturn the call isn’t there, and Moralez lines up to take the penalty shot against Nick Rimando, the league’s leading penalty-shot stopper.
12’: GOOOOOOALLLLL FOR NEW YORK CITY! ISMAEL TAJOURI-SHRADI! NEW YORK CITY 1 - RSL 0!
Who else but the Libyan marksman? Maxi Moralez starts off the sequence with a searching pass to Tinnerholm, who shoots but gets blocked. Tajouri-Shradi is all by his lonesome at the top of the box, and drills home the shot in the upper 90.
New York City’s pressure and pace has been causing RSL fits in this opening stage of the game, and it pays off. Tajouri-Shradi’s goal also means that the Pigeons have scored in their last 14 games (including the post-season).
David Villa and Alexander Ring are on the bench for today’s game. Manager Patrick Vieira isn’t taking any chances on what’s a chilly evening here in New York City. We’ll see if the Pigeons need either player tonight; against both New England and San Jose, particularly, their absence wasn’t regretted.
Tonight’s game, by the way, is on YES 2. That’s the subsidiary channel for YES; the main channel is carrying the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics NBA game at 8.
New York City Starting XI (4-3-3, R-to-L): Johnson; Tinnerholm, Chanot (c), Callens, Matarrita; Ofori, Moralez, Herrera; Tajouri-Shradi, Berget, Medina.
Bench: Stuver; Ring, Sweat, Ibeagha, McNamara, Villa, Wallace
- Suspended: None
- Injury: OUT: Awuah (knee)
Real Salt Lake Starting XI (4-2-3-1, R-to-L): Rimando; Lennon, Horst, Glad, Henley; Beckerman, Kreilach; Savarino, Rusnák, Baird; Silva
Bench: Horwath; Acosta; Sunny, Saucedo, Besler, Ruiz; Ortuño
- Suspended: None
- Injury: OUT: D - Tony Beltran (right knee surgery), M - Jordan Allen (knee), D - Taylor Peay (knee); QUESTIONABLE: D - Shawn Barry (hamstring), M - Luke Mulholland (hamstring), D - Demar Phillips (undisclosed), D - Marcelo Silva (undisclosed); PROBABLE: D - Aaron Herrera (groin)
Referees: Mark Geiger (referee); CJ Morgante, Logan Brown (assistant referees); Robert Sibiga (4th official); Jorge Gonzalez (VAR)
How To Watch
Match date & time: April 11, 2018, 7:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, NY
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go, MLS LIVE (out of blackout)
TV: YES 2 (note that that’s the subsidiary YES channel, not the main one!)
Local radio: WNYE 91.5 FM — English (Crooks, Kolker, Masur, Lawrence); WADO 1280 AM — Spanish (Abramowitz, Judas).
All-time series: In three meetings, New York City has never beaten Real Salt Lake. They’ve been outscored 7-3 in those meetings. Their last meeting was two years ago here in New York City, and RSL won that one, a wild 3-2 affair. Jack Harrison scored his first professional goal in that game, 56 minutes in. But goals by Yura Movsisyan and Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez gave the visitors the lead, before an own-goal by Frederic Brillant sealed it for RSL. A late penalty by David Villa was too little, too late.
Let’s see if New York City can continue their best-ever start and notch a first-ever win.
This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.