Sunday, April 28, 2024

NYCFC Notches Third Straight Win With Comeback Over Charlotte


NYCFC players crowd around Keaton Parks after his game-tying goal. Photo by Jason Schott.

New York City Football Club has run their winning streak to three games, as they overcame an early goal to beat Charlotte FC, 2-1, in a thriller on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

NYCFC is now undefeated in their last five games, their longest such streak since their five-match winning streak from September 17-October 23, 2022. 

Along with that, NYCFC keeps making their move up the MLS' Eastern Conference standings. They are 4-2-3, with 14 points, just seven points behind Inter Miami, who has 21 points (6-3-2), and only three behind the Red Bulls, who are in third with 17 points (4-5-1).

After two straight shutouts, NYCFC surrendered one in the third minute of this one. Charlotte crashed the net in the third minute, and the ball came under the heel of an NYCFC defender before it found its way to Kerwin Vargas, who buried one from the top of the box, and found its way through traffic to give them a 1-0 lead.

NYCFC put plenty of pressure on after that, but it took nearly the entire first half for them to get the equalizer, which they did from Keaton Parks, who drilled a header home from the center of the box in the 41st minute. This was Parks' first goal of the season, and he is the sixth player to score for NYCFC this season.

Julian Fernandez earned an assist on the goal, his second of the season, and he has now had points in three straight matches (two goals, one assist). O

The game remained 1-1 through the 10 minutes of extra time in the first half, and throughout the second, until Alonso Martinez drilled a shot from the right-center side of the box in the 93rd minute to make it 2-1.

Amazingly, Martinez only came on in the 82nd minute, and it was his second goal of the season, and he now had four goals and two assists this season, all at home (at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Martinez is now tied with Fernandez for the second-most goals for NYCFC.

NYCFC goalkeeper Matt Freese notched his third straight win, as he made seven saves.

This was NYCFC's first win against Charlotte FC in an MLS Regular Seaosn matchup, after they were winless in their first five meetings, four of which were won by Charlotte and one was a tie.

COACH'S COMMENTS: NYCFC Head Coach Nick Cushing spoke to the media after the game, and here's what he had to say:

On NYCFC having a different mentality this season after falling behind compared to last year: "I think we've done it as a coaching staff. We've done a lot of work with the team on the mentality of the group, on the attacking mentality of the group, on understanding that the nature of our league is, there's good players, there's top teams. You're going to fall behind in moments. You're going to have to execute results. And by executing results, you have to have a strong mentality, you have to have a real hunger and a drive. And I said to the group before the game, we've had a lot of instances as a group where maybe the results, like I said last week, we feel like ties should be wins or losses could have been ties. I said, ultimately in the game is the moment when you decide whether you're going to accept it and you push hard and you continue to drive forward. And as a collective group, bench also, you decide what you want to take, you defend the game solid and you keep creating chances and you can pick up three points. I'm so proud of the group tonight because I think they show the winning mentality that they really have."

On Keaton Parks' performance in this game, as well as the season as a whole: "Keaton is exceptional at playing forward to open the game for us. A real technical guy, a guy that we rely on to link the game from (goalkeeper) Matt Freese and (defenders) Birk [Risa] and Thiago [Martins] and play the ball forwards. I challenged him this preseason; he has to win more balls, he has to be more dynamic, and he has to be more intense in the middle of the park. I think we've seen that over the last three games. Today, in the first half, I thought the team started slow in the first five, six, seven minutes. And then you start seeing Keaton and James [Sands] getting about and putting a foot in and getting the ball back. I know what I get from Keaton from an in-possession standpoint. I think he's really developed his game in the defensive side. Now, if we're going to be a team that can get a good position and continue to win, we're going to need goals from all over the field and Keaton's strength on set play and his strength at arriving in the box is something that we have to utilize. So, I'm proud of him tonight, getting the goal, getting us back into the game. I thought he drove on us. I thought him and James in that first part of the game really gave us intensity and life."

On picking up momentum with three straight wins and the team's performance in this homestand: "Thought we were exceptional in Atlanta (1-1 at Citi Field on April 6) but we gave them too much, too many goal chances. Thought we were really, really good in the following two games (both wins), the New England and D.C. games are far more like my vision for the team and how I think we can dominate teams here and how I think our intensity and our atmosphere with our fans and the way that we play can really make this a fortress at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field."

NEXT UP: NYCFC closes their five-game homestand on Sunday, May 5, at Citi Field against Colorado, with kickoff at 4:00 p.m.

No comments:

Post a Comment