FT: New York City 3, Orlando 0. It wasn’t pretty, but it’ll do none the less! New York City struggled throughout the first half, with only a brilliant goal from Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to give them the lead.
Things improved slightly in the second half, once Vieira decided to shift away from a 3-4-1-2-ish formation to the 4-3-3 that’s been his mainstay. It was the insertion of David Villa in the 64th minute that really saw the Pigeons move to the next gear. Jo Inge Berget failed to impress at all in deputizing for Villa. ITS got his seventh goal minutes later; incredibly, it was his seventh goal in eight shots. Moralez added to the tally late on.
Johnson got his fourth clean sheet in six home games. He’ll be looking to maintain that sparkling record next Saturday against a fearsome Atlanta United lineup. But before that, the Pigeons have another Hudson River Derby date coming up on Wednesday, June 6th; they’ll be taking on the Red Bulls, looking for a first-ever win in the second-oldest cup competition in the world.
90’: There will be three minutes of added time.
86’: GOOOOOALLLL MAXI MORALEZ!!! NEW YORK CITY 3, ORLANDO 0!!! WHAT A SEQUENCE!!! Once, twice, the ball hits the crossbar — and finally, Moralez drills home!
It was a brilliant little run from Jonathan Lewis — who’s been inexplicably buried somewhere — that split the defense and set the table.
82’: JONATHAN LEWIS LIVES! He’s the third sub of the game, coming on for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.
78’: GOOOOOALLLL ISMAEL TAJOURI-SHRADI!!! NEW YORK CITY 2, ORLANDO 0!!!
It’s the Libyan winger with the free kick! It’s his seventh goal of the campaign. More importantly, it’s the first goal New York City have scored in the last 15 minutes of the game this year. Last year, this was a key component of their attack — both the ability to score late and to prevent late goals.
74’: With Villa on the field, there’s an intensity to New York City that wasn’t there before. The Pigeons are getting after balls and getting second-chance looks that they weren’t before. The question is - what do they do when Villa takes time to rest? They were able to click with fearsome efficiency during his earlier absence; why not now?
I think the answer has to do with Vieira’s flirtations with OGC Nice. Despite his denials, it’s difficult to square those with the persistent rumors that are floating around. I can’t imagine that if players think he’s got one foot out the door - despite their protestations - they’re focusing as well as they used to. At some point, Vieira needs to make a commitment one way or the other.
64’: David Villa comes on for Jo Inge Berget. Truth is, it’s been a poor night for Berget. He failed to convert his chances, especially in the first half, and didn’t give anyone any evidence for why Vieira continues to start him.
63’: I’d say New York City are overdue for a substitution. Both Medina and Tajouri-Shradi have come close to doubling the lead, but that’s it. The Pigeons are looking better now.
54’: NO VAR SYSTEM FOR TONIGHT’S GAME. Apparently, the on-field system is experiencing technical difficulties, so it’s been scrapped. There will be no review.
49’: OFF THE POST!!! KLJESTAN MISSES THE PENALTY!!! He had Johnson beat, the goal wide open...and the ball hits the post. New York City is incredibly lucky.
In any event, the penalty call was a no-brainer. Callens tugged on Mueller’s jersey, dragging him down, and Grejeda had no choice but to award the penalty.
46’: One change at halftime -- McNamara comes off for Ben Sweat. Sweat will replace Ofori at left back, moving him into midfield, where he spent much of the first half. Pity that, because T-Mac made some timely defensive interventions in the box.
That change should help New York City regain control in the midfield. Herrera’s absence is clearly hurting, but having Ring and Ofori back in midfield should help.
HT: And we’re at halftime. Real talk: it’s been very lacklustre tonight. The Pigeons are leading only through a moment of individual brilliance from Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. Beyond that, there’s a lot of work for Vieira to do in his halftime talk. Whatever weird experiment he was trying tonight hasn’t worked thus far.
Meanwhile, clouds are gathering ominously overhead, and the second half might be rather wet. We’ll see.
43’: You wouldn’t know it from the score, but Orlando’s been the better team this half. They’ve been very unlucky in front of goal, what with balls pinging off the post and the Pigeons’ defense scrambling at times.
Meanwhile, referee Hilario Grejeda is calling a very loose game. It’s been low-key physical between both sides, and you wonder if it might not be too loose.
34’: GOOOOOOALLL ISMAEL TAJOURI-SHRADI!!! NEW YORK CITY 1, ORLANDO 0!!!43
What a move by ITS! He dekes the Orlando defender, and lasers the ball into the net! Talk about creating something out of nothing. That goal came against the run of play, and the Lions will be bitterly ruing that goal. It’s ITS’ sixth goal of the year.
27’: This is something that you don’t see often - Orlando is dominating possession. New York City are content to settle for “Route 1” long balls, but they don’t have a target striker who can do much with them, and they’re not making the long runs into the box to take advantage of them. You’ve got Medina and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi on either wing, but they’ve had limited touches so far.
20’: Ian Joy makes a good point - “This formation is not working.” And it’s not. It’s unclear how the Pigeons are lining up in this game, but whatever it may be, it’s simply not working well. Jo Inge Berget has muffed every chance he’s had, including a gilt-edged opportunity that would’ve been buried by Villa.
Berget isn’t a scorer, but it’s unclear what Vieira sees in him beyond his motor.
15’: Orlando’s grown into the game. Colmán shows off his skills, before being kept to a corner. But so far, this is now two times that keeper Sean Johnson and the defense have done a bit of scrambling.
7’: It looks like maaaaaybe the audio difficulties on the FSGo stream are fixed. We’ll see?
3’: OH SO CLOSE FROM MEDINA! But nothing doing; his shot goes over the bar. New York City is on the attack early on in this one.
It’s Pride Night here at Yankee Stadium, and while it’s excellent to see rainbow flags dotting the stands, rainbow scarves for sale in the concessions, and hearing the anthem sung by the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, it must be mentioned that the Pigeons’ overlords (City Football Group) hail from a land that’s decidedly hostile to LGBTQ rights. All the corporate pageantry in the world can’t obscure that.
No, you’re not alone: the FSGo feed is having audio difficulties. Also, according to the broadcast graphic, Vieira is playing a 4-3-3 with Ofori at left back. It means that Ring is back in the midfield, but you’ve also got a capable left back in Ben Sweat just thumb-twiddling on the bench. If I were Kreis, I’d be testing the left to see if there’s something to exploit there.
N.B.: Kickoff looks like it’ll be at 7:50 PM.
Meanwhile, it looks like Patrick Vieira is sticking with a three-man backline in what looks like a 3-4-3. You may have thought that with Herrera out injured, he’d return midfielder Alexander Ring to his steadfast midfield commander role; you would be in error. Ring is at cornerback. It’s Tinnerholm in midfield alongside Ofori.
As for Orlando City, former Pigeons player RJ Allen makes a return appearance to Yankee Stadium.
New York City Starting XI: Johnson; Callens, Ring, Ibeagha; Tinnerholm, Ofori, McNamara, Moralez; Tajouri-Shradi, Berget, Medina
Bench: Stuver, Chanot, Hountondji, Sweat, Awuah, Lewis, Villa
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: MF Yangel Herrera
- International Duty: D Ronald Matarrita, MF Rodney Wallace
- Injury: OUT: MF Yangel Herrera (ankle)
Orlando City Starting XI: Bendik; Toia, Rocha, Allen, Johnson; Higuita, Rosell; Kljestan; Meram, Muller; Colmán
Bench: Powers, Laryea, El-Munir, Pinho, Villarreal, Edwards Jr, PC
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution:
- International Duty: MF Yoshi Yotun, D Amro Tarek
- Injury: OUT: GK Mason Stajduhar, D Chris Schuler (broken arm); QUESTIONABLE: F Dom Dwyer (lower body injury), D Scott Sutter (lower body injury), D Lamine Sane (lower body injury), D Jonathan Spector (concussion)
Referees: Hilario Grejeda (referee); Adam Wienckowski, Brian Dunn (assistant referees); Rubiel Vasquez (4th official); Jorge Gonzalez (VAR)
How To Watch
Match date & time: June 2nd, 2018, 7:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, TX
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go
Local radio: WNYE 91.5 FM — English (Crooks, Kolker, Masur, Lawrence); WADO 1280 AM — Spanish (Abramowitz, Judas).
All-time series: New York City takes on Orlando City tonight hoping for some relief. The Pigeons endured their first-ever loss to the Houston Dynamo last Friday. It was a lacklustre 3-1 debacle that saw them limp home after leading early in the game.
The bigger loss for New York City, however, was Yangel Herrera, who had to be stretchered off the field after suffering a brutal tackle at the feet of Houston’s Alejandro Fuenmayor. Fuenmayor was suspended by the league Disciplinary Committee as a result.
New York City are unbeaten at home this season; they’ve won all five games they’ve played in the Bronx. What’s more, they’re facing a streaky Orlando City team that’s lost three straight after winning six on the bounce. The Lions would dearly love to end both of those streaks — New York City’s and theirs — but don’t look likely to do so. While they hold the edge on the all-time series (five wins to the Pigeons’ three), they’ve already lost once here this season. That was a stinging 2-0 defeat that saw Ismael Tajouri and Maxi Moralez score.
This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.