Thursday, May 16, 2024

NYCFC Takes Two On Road Ahead Of Derby


Alonso Martinez celebrating his very early goal on Wednesday night. @NYCFC. 

New York City Football Club beat the Philadelphia Union, 2-1, on the road Wednesday night, their fifth win in their last six matches. This was a perfect road trip for NYCFC, as they won on at Toronto, 3-2, last Saturday night. 

NYCFC is now 6-2-5, with 20 points, and are now in fourth place in the MLS Eastern Conference. They are just three points behind the Red Bulls (23 points, 6-5-2), whom they will host in the first edition of the Hudson River Derby this Saturday night at Citi Field.

It didn't take long for NYCFC to get the early lead in this one, as Alonso Martinez scored just two minutes into the game. Martinez buried a shot from the left side of the box, off a set-up from Santiago Rodriguez and Andres Perea. It was scored exactly at the 1:51 mark, which makes it the fast goal for NYCFC this season.

It stayed that way until extra time of the first half, when Hannes Wolf buried a free kick from the right wing to make it 2-0.

Philadelphia responded by scoring immediately in the second half, as Julian Carranza buried one on a free kick from the left side just outside the box in the 47th minute.

The Union nearly tied it in extra time when Jack Elliott jumped in on a loose ball inside the box, and tried to get a shot past NYCFC goalkeeper Matt Freese, but he made the stop to seal the win.

Philadelphia has nearly double the shots as NYCFC, 23-12, but NYCFC had seven shots on goal to the Union's five.

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

On winning the last five of six regular season matches, including two straight on the road: "The group is just growing tighter and tighter. I said earlier in the season and in preseason that I believe that tough times make strong teams. We've been through some tough times. There are guys in there who have experienced not making the postseason, only winning one game on the road, and dropping too many points at home last season. There's a real determination in that group [who have experienced those moments]. There was real determination in preseason, and we didn't get the momentum we wanted at the start [of the season]. You can see how the mentality is developing. You can see how the ability to absorb pressure and soak up pressure at difficult places, as well as the ability to create chances, will help us create more opportunities than we ever have. Overall, I'm really pleased with that."

On whether there is a change in style of play in the recent matches having less possession: "My aim at the start of the season was and will continue to be that I want us to be able to create goal chances in every phase of the game. Now, we had a lot of possession last year, but we weren't so good in low moments at counter-attacking. We weren't so good at counter-pressing moments. We still need to improve our offensive set play. I'm really pleased that we are creating [offensive plays] from transition moments. It shows that we're improving, but we need to have more of the ball [possession] on the road. You see the way we defend the game and [how] the guys defend it like warriors. If we have more possession, you control more moments to almost take the air out of the game. I want the team to be able to [do so]. I don't need a raccoon to do it for me. We got to be better with the ball, but we've got some players now that are really deadly in transition.

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