On Sunday night, New York City FC II defeated Inter Miami II at DRV PNK Stadium in a 2-1 comeback. This was the second time the two teams matched up, the first being on April 16 at Belson Stadium. That game saw New York City demolish Miami II 7-0, and while the Young Pigeons were victorious again on Sunday, this game was a lot closer. After the win, NYCFC close out May with three wins and one defeat, sitting third in the Eastern Conference.
NYCFC II: 18 shots, 9 on goal, 56.9% possession, 506 passes, 85.6% accuracy
Miami II: 8 shots, 2 on goal, 43.2% possession, 385 passes, 77.7% accuracy
Miami II were clearly trying to avoid a second-consecutive humiliating defeat after losing 6-0 to Orlando B the prior week. They fielded an MLS-heavy backline, with three out of the four defenders coming from the first team.
One of those players was 32-year-old former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs. Miami center backs Aime Mabika and Jairo Quinteros were the other two Senior Team defenders. And it was Jairo Quinteros that opened the scoring in the 23rd minute off a Romeo Beckham corner.
Miami held that lead until a couple of minutes before the halftime break. NYCFC II’s Piero Elias capitalized on a fifty-fifty ball and fed John Denis who after a couple dribbles into the box, curled the ball past the outstretched goalkeeper and into the net to tie the game up. This marked Denis’s team-leading fifth goal of the season, and his second in as many games against Miami II.
In the 64th minute, NYCFC II’s 17-year-old right-back Diego Rossi was replaced by 15-year-old Christian McFarlane, who was signed to a Senior Team homegrown contract back in September 2021 when he was just a 14-year-old. At the time, he was the third-youngest signing in club history, but now is the fifth.
Sunday was the first time he played professionally for NYCFC at any level. Coach Matt Pilkinton has given Rossi minutes at fullback, so it would not be surprising to see McFarlane get more minutes himself.
NYCFC II created more chances in the second half, yet the score remained tied until the 85th minute. Substitute Julian Gomez laid the ball off to El Mahdi Youssoufi, who in turn laid the ball off to an onrushing Stephen Turnbull: The defender took one touch, then blasted the ball top left for the game-winner.
Turnbull has been impressive this year. He is second in scoring for NYCFC II with four goals, one behind Denis and tied with Jonathon Jimenez.
NYCFC’s Senior Team has looked weak at fullback this season, and often failed to add any attacking help. Turnbull has done for NYCFC II what the Senior team fullbacks haven’t been able to manage in MLS: Score and assist. Now that younger academy fullbacks Rossi and McFarlane are getting minutes, a larger role in the organization might be there for Turnbull.
Inter Miami II, Jairo Quinteros 23’
NYCFC II, John Denis 41’
NYCFC II, Stephen Turnbull 85’