NYCFC finally ended their malaise with a thrilling 3-2 win over Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia Union, on Saturday. But the real test now begins.
Prior to City’s win – a much-needed victory at Yankee Stadium where the team endured a three-game home winless stretch – they were floundering. NYCFC was unable to bury the ball in the back of the net, and were just as incapable of stopping the opposition from scoring.
But the win could be just what NYCFC needs to renew conference contention. The victory leaves City (five wins, five losses, six draws, and 21 points) just two points behind the Union (6-4-4), and one point behind cross-river rival New York Red Bulls.
Their next match isn’t until June 25 in Seattle – a very winnable game considering the Western Conference Sounders’ poor mark of 5-8-1 (16 points).
Head coach Patrick Vieira is hoping last Saturday’s output is a sign of things to come. City’s lack of production from its Big 3 of designated players has caused great consternation within the avid fanbase. But with their expensive trio all finding the back of the net, now may finally be the time for its trio to lead City out of its funk.
NYCFC dropped millions of dollars on their European trifecta – David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard – with little return from the latter two. Villa, otherwise, has been a Major League Soccer star, garnering a league-high 11 goals, including one game-winner.
The ardent City fans were once again witness to some dicey play late in Saturday’s action, as NYCFC played the final five minutes of regulation and the extra four minutes of stoppage time with 10 men after defender Jason Hernandezreceived his second yellow card. There was even an own-goal by defender Frederic Brillant in the 88th minute to really cause the fans angst. But ultimately, City rallied behind its veteran leadership and deft defense to withstand the furious Philadelphia rush.
Vieira said he wanted a “massive response” from his club prior to the Union matchup, and he finally got one. Another home collapse could’ve been disastrous for City, but they instead survived an onslaught at the end and claimed three massivepoints.
Now, it’s up to Vieira’s squad to continue that momentum and bury the Sounders before their crucial home matchup with the Red Bulls, July 3.
-It was obviously great to see the three legendary footballers finally come through together in the same game, but for City to make a move up the standings, they’re going to need others to step up as well. Help could be already be here in the form of 19-year old phenom Jack Harrison. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, the 5-foot-9 Harrison showed why City traded for him by giving the Chicago Fire its No. 4 overall pick and allocation money. Harrison made good on the deal in just his second professional debut, June 2 versus Real Salt Lake, when he became the first teenaged scorer for the franchise. Harrison has racked up a goal and an assist in his two starts, which may provide the vets with an infusion of energy.
-Harrison and Villa were named to the MLS Team of the Week, for Week 15. It’s Villa’s fourth honor this season, while it’s Harrison’s first.