|The Chicago Fire celebrate one of their second half goals. USA Today Sports.|
The Chicago Fire scored two in the second half to outlast New York City Football Club, 3-2, on Saturday night.
NYCFC dropped to 9-4-4 on the season, in second place in the Eastern Conference. They are now six points behind Atlanta for the top spot in the east, and just one point ahead of Columbus and two points ahead of the Red Bulls, who play in Toronto Sunday afternoon.
NYCFC hosts the Red Bulls next Sunday, July 8, at Yankee Stadium. The Red Bulls have won both Derby matches between the clubs this season at Red Bull arena, one in MLS play and one in the US Open Cup.
Chicago got on the board in the sixth minute, as Dax McCarty cut through the center of the NYC defense with an incisive pass, allowing Nemanja Nikolic to streak clear and get one past NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson .
NYCFC responded as the first half wound down.
In the 36th minute, Maxi Moralez found Ismael Tajouri-Shradi on the top of the box, and he fired a shot that swerved away from the goalkeeper into the bottom corner.
That goal tied Tajouri-Shradi with David Villa for team top-scorer with eight goals in 2018, a great start to his first year in MLS.
In the 40th minute, Jo Inge Berget, on a feed from Anton Tinnerholm, fired one into the opposite corner of the net to make it 2-1 NYCFC.
For Berget, this was his fourth goal of the season, and comes after he had two last weekend against Toronto at Yankee Stadium.
It stayed that way at halftime, but it didn't take long for Chicago to respond in the second half.
Aleksandar Katai tied it in the 47th minute, after a feed from McCarty, on a shot that first curled around Johnson from the edge of the box, and then in the 53rd minute, he got around NYCFC defender Alexander Callens and fired a rocked in net to make it 3-2.
This was NYCFC Head Coach Domènec Torrent first match on the road after winning his opening game with the team last Sunday against Toronto.
Domènec Torrent – New York City FC Head Coach:
On falling despite leading statistically [translated from Spanish]:
“The most important thing in football, again, is to score goals. If it's possible, make few mistakes. In this game we were not able to score more goals. I think we created many chances to score but we were not able to today. We made a big mistake; especially in the second half, in the first seven minutes. It's not normal because this team normally plays compact. They have a philosophy to play football but sometimes that happens. In football, when you don't have focus, exactly what happened in the second half, we spoke about that in the locker room because we were in trouble during the first half in the same way: between the lines. I said to them, ‘We have to control in between the lines, Schweinsteiger, the striker, when he falls back, we have to jam.’ It's my mistake because when a coach is not able to convince the players, we are in trouble.”
On his experience in the past two games and overall thoughts on the league [Translated from Spanish]:
“I was saying it in my native language, Catalan, to my friend who asked me that question. What I've seen, sporting-wise, I think MLS is going to grow a lot. I'm convinced of that. In many aspects but what I've seen on the pitch is in almost all the games that I've seen, which have been a lot, they break. In the 60th minute, they break wide open. Six players attack and four stay back to defend. It becomes disorganized. Four stay back and then they attack us and vice versa. I don't like this way of playing. I'm accustomed to teams having control of the ball, who respect their position, and play easier. One reason is if you respect your position, you're able to, when you lose the ball, in two seconds, you can recuperate it. If you're too far and move around a lot, the ball goes to the other side and you're 40 meters away. That's why it's important for me to make the players understand positional play on the field, to respect their position, to be able to find each other easier, they'll know where their teammates are and when it comes to defending, they'll be closer to the opponent. But from what I've seen, almost all the games break down. They're very attractive games to the fans because they can finish 3-2, 4-3, 5-4, 3-0; a team makes a comeback because of that. They can attack with eight players and leave a lot of space and if you have a lot of quality up top, you end the game. If you don't have a lot of quality, it costs you more and aren't likely to score. That's what I've seen in my first two games here.”
Alexander Ring – Midfielder, New York City FC:
On the disappointment of giving up the lead:
“I think we have to be honest with ourselves, if you lead 2-1 away, you got to take the points to home. We weren’t smart enough today and it really hurts.”
On the upcoming game against the New York Red Bulls:
“I mean we have to pick ourselves up, it’s my job as well as a leading player to do that, all the players feeling we have nothing to be ashamed of. I think we had a big chunk of the game today, we just conceded stupid goals but I mean that’s football, that’s life and it’s nice to get a chance to wipe the sheet clean next week against the Red Bulls.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi – Forward, New York City FC:
On his goal serving as a spark for the team:
“I think it was a very hard game. First, we got 1-0 down and after we come very good into the game for the first half, 45 minutes, we scored two goals. We go into the first half with 2-1 for us, so we did very good. Then second half we say altogether we need to do more to win the game. But yeah, second half was not so good enough. We lose the game in about five, six minutes. It was not so good from us after Chicago scored 3-2, it was very hard for us. We tried to score 3-3 or to win the game but it was very difficult obviously with 10 guys in the defense. It was not our best game so we need now we rest and next week is a very, very important game.”