Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a pretty scathing review of New York City FC manager Ronny Deila and his performance to that point. Through their first six games, NYCFC had only collected three points with no signs of them getting any better. But after their 1-0 loss to the rival New York Red Bulls, locker room leaders has a meeting with Deila to discuss what to do moving forward. And I must say that whatever was said in that room — it’s working!
Following that disappointing night against the Bulls, City went on a run to defeat both the then-undefeated Columbus Crew and the always pesky Chicago Fire. And last night, NYCFC once again reigned supreme in a 2-0 victory against the New England Revolution on the road, in a fog-filled Gillette Stadium.
New York City started the way they wanted to — control the play and create chances. The possession style culminated in a near-goal from a corner in the 14th minute when Maxime Chanot connected with Ronald Matarrita’s out-swinging kick. The Luxembourg-based center back gave the ball a brilliant headed effort that was unfortunately parried by New England’s Matt Turner.
A stout defensive effort from City prevented any real momentum being built from the Revolution as they did not have a single shot on goal through the first 45 minutes. James Sands looked terrific as always, constantly cutting the lanes and playing sweeper behind Keaton Parks — who was playing box-to-box — and attacking midfielder Maxi Moralez.
Though the defense remained sturdy, NYCFC’s attack really only mounted half chances throughout the first half and didn’t really threaten goal outside of Chanot’s corner. But like their previous two outings, City would make up for it in the second half.
A week removed from a brilliant performance that produced both an assist and a goal, Anton Tinnerholm once again provided a huge spark in the 60th minute. After linking up with Gary Mackay-Steven for some quick interplay, Tinnerholm neatly touched the ball past the Revs’ Alexander Büttner to find space at the right wing. The Swede then squared a chance to Héber in the middle. And though New England defender Michael Mancienne would be credited with an own goal on his attempted break-up, the opening tally was well earned considering the Blues’ hard work to that point.
A little more than ten minutes later, the Boys would find some insurance.
Héber, having not scored an MLS goal thus far in 2020, finally found the back of the net in the 72nd minute when another out-swinging corner from Mata was met by the Brazilian with gusto — a header off the back post and in. The goal gave NYCFC a good 2-0 cushion as Héber would immediately be subbed off for Taty Castellanos afterwards.
From then on, City would have a few chances to extend their lead, but nothing too significant. Their defense was tested valiantly by a desperate Revolution in the late stages as Gustavo Bou would threaten goal on a plethora of occasions.
But City held firm and collected their third straight win, putting them at 6th in the Eastern Conference — the first time they’ve cleared the playoff line in 2020.