Friday, June 28, 2024

NYCFC Returns To Yankee Stadium In Style With Rout Of Orlando City


The scene at Yankee Stadium early in Friday night's match. Photo by Jason Schott.

New York City Football Club broke a three-game losing streak with one of their best offensive outputs of the season, as they beat Orlando City SC, 4-2, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

This was NYCFC's 10th win of the season, and they now have 32 points (10-2-8), in fourth place in the MLS Eastern Conference. Orlando City fell to 5-6-9 (21 points), and they are in 10th place.

It didn't take long for NYCFC to get on the board in this one, as Santiago Rodriguez buried one from the top of the box in the 15th minute. Alonso Martinez and Malachi Jones had assists on the goal.

The celebration was on after Santiago Rodriguez broke the ice in the 15th minute. Photo by Jason Schott.

It was Rodriguez's eighth goal of the season, the most he has scored in a single regular season with NYCFC. He has now made five goal contributions (three goals, two assists) in three of their last five matches. It is the fifth time he has scored the opening goal for NYCFC this season.

Soon after, there was a very somber moment, as Jones got caught in a massive collision with Orlando City's Mason Stajduhar in the 23rd minute. Both players were stretchered off, and the game was delayed for over 10 minutes.

When the first half neared its close, it was announced that there would be 13 minutes of extra time.

That must have felt endless for Orlando City, as NYCFC got goals from Hannes Wolf in the 49th minute, with assists from Tayvon Gray and Rodriguez, and in the 57th, from Agustin Ojeda, with assists from Gray and Agustin Ojeda, to take a 3-0 edge into the break.

It was Wolf's fourth goal of the season, and now gives him eight goal contributions on the season, as he also has notched four assists. He is ties for second on the season for goal contributions, as Alonso Martinez also has eight, and only Rodriguez (15) is ahead of them.

Ojeda now has three goals on the season, and it was his first goal coming off the bench, as he came on for Jones.

It marks the first time in Gray's career that he has two assists in one match, and his four assists on the season is now the most he has had in a single season with NYCFC.

The crowd went wild after Hannes Wolf's goal made it 2-0 NYCFC. Photo by Jason Schott.

Orlando City made a game of it in the second half, as Dagur Thorhallsson scored in the 72nd minute, followed by one from Duncan McGuire in the 92nd.

Mounsef Bakrar buried one from the left-side of the box to make it 4-2 NYCFC and seal the win. James Sands and Ojeda notched assists on the play, and it was Bakrar's second goal of the season.

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

On Tayvon Gray's impact on the team: "Tayvon is an exceptional game player, and what I mean by that is that his mentality is strong. He can come up against Orlando's wingers, who are top in this league. He can come up against those guys. Although he didn't get the results, he'd done really well against Joseph [Paintsil of the LA Galaxy] who's a top winger in the west. I know we can trust Tayvon in these moments. The one area that we've consistently spoken to him about is whether he can emulate Anton [Tinnerholm] and add assists and goals to his game. Can he be a real offensive threat in the final third and push numbers and put numbers on? He was on two assists before tonight and had two critical moments tonight. I'm really pleased with Tayvon. He's really improving his game and he's really helping the team at the moment."

On scoring at least one goal in every match at Yankee Stadium this season: "We love playing here. We love playing in front of our fans. The stadium and the home advantage are one thing, but ultimately, it's about playing in front of our fans and our people. When we play in front of our people and they're behind us, we know we want to put a show on, we want to put a performance in for them because that's our responsibility. As the game goes on, they really push us. We feel the fans, we feel the atmosphere, and it's a special place. When you get that half of football that we did in the first half, it's a really special place. I remind the guys all the time that the aim every week is to go over and celebrate with those fans and make sure that there is a real synergy and a real collective feeling between us, because of the way we played and the way they support us. Tonight was definitely one of those moments."

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