Source: New York City FC Press
New York City FC 2 – 0 Chicago Fire
Domènec Torrent’s men entered this showdown with Chicago knowing that a tie would be enough to sure up a place in the postseason.
However, perhaps even more pressing, was the need to grab all three points following a poor run of results, even if performances had improved over the past four.
Ebenezer Ofori, James Sands and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi all returned to the XI as City chased their first win since August.
The Boys in Blue made a strong start, with David Villa twice going close inside the first 10’, first warming Stefan Cleveland’s hands with a 30 yard free-kick, before going close again after a nice interchange with Anton Tinnerholm and Tajouri-Shradi.
Maxime Chanot was next to go close with a commanding header off a corner on 28’ but his effort was thumped the wrong side of the post, while at the other end, former Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson rescued his side with an excellent save from a Raheem Edwards bicycle kick.
With just one goal at home in their last two and a half matches, the drought went on through more chances for Chanot, Moralez and Villa as City did everything but score in a dominant first half.
For all the opportunities, eight in all for the home side, it was zeroes at the half once again as the levy refused to break.
It would take just two second half minutes for that to change, with Alex Ring firing in his second goal for the club with a superbly-taken strike, opening up his body to meet Villa’s cushioned pass first-time with a finesse finish past Cleveland’s despairing paw.
Just five minutes later, the advantage was doubled thanks to El Capitan, but this goal was all about Maxi Moralez who teased the left-back, dragging it back and forward on the byline, before crossing for Villa to thrash home.
It was no less than Torrent’s side deserved and they kept their foot on the gas, and although there were no more goals in the remaining minutes, those inside Yankee Stadium would’ve been content to see their team back to scoring goals and winning games.
Next up: A long trip to Minnesota as City aims to finish as high up the Eastern Conference table as possible with three games to go.
- Torrent made three changes to his lineup, bringing in Ofori, Sands and Tajouri-Shradi
- Alexander Callens missed the game vs. Chicago for yellow card accumulation
- Alex Ring scored his second goal of the season
- David Villa scored his 12th goal of the season
NYCFC HEAD COACH DOMÈNEC TORRENT
On the satisfaction of winning and clinching a playoff spot…
“First off I want congratulate the team, I was told that we are officially in the playoffs, which is very important. Also, I want to congratulate them on being able to win again, it was very important to win for our fans because with these last two games in Yankee Stadium, we deserved to win and sometimes it doesn't happen because this is football…I think the team deserved to win again one game, I don't want to be tough so I think we are in the right direction to be better for the playoffs.”
On having a sense of relief now that they won a game…
“Of course it's very important for us to win the game for our fans, for our players because you have more confidence when you are able to win the game. Especially, today in the second half because in the first thirty minutes we didn't play fast, we played very slowly when we had the ball. We improved a lot in the second half, especially in the first half we defend deep and in the second half we were compact and we were able to recover many balls, and create many chances.”
NYCFC MIDFIELDER ALEXANDER RING
On the goal…
“I mean, it’s always nice to score. I don’t score often, everyone knows that, so it feels special. But yeah, the most important thing is that we clinched the playoff spot today and we have to be happy about that and now we have a couple of games to find our rhythm. To find the flow that we need for our players. I think that we’ll be ready when [the playoffs] start.”
What did the clean sheet do to help you feel good about the result tonight...
“A clean sheet is always nice. In the previous game, we were dominate, but we couldn’t put the game away and lost points in the end. I think today, we were more patient, and we played in the same way as the two, three games before. But like I said, maybe the patience was the big factor that we didn’t necessarily have in the games before. Knowing that we had to create our chances and knowing that we just had to put them away. And we did that.”
CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH VELJKO PAUNOVIC
On whether NYCFC did anything different to allow them to score the two goals...
"Obviously everyone tries to make adjustments at halftime and they did so in this occasion it worked better for them. We had a decent game in the first half. We were a good opponent and we also had our opportunities. And on the other side, the second half we didn't start as well as we wanted. We crumbled and we wanted an opportunity to perform well. Our goal today was to definitely get points here. We had our game plan. After the second goal we tried to score at least one and come back in the game. We made some changes, but it didn't work so two teams on the opposite sides. One clinching the playoffs. The other one staying outside. It's been tough for us to accept that today but it is what it is, so we will move forward and will play next games always trying our best, always trying to win and do our best in every single game. That's it."
New York City FC 2 – 0 Chicago Fire
Saturday, September 26, 2018
MLS Regular Season 2018 – Game 31
Yankee Stadium – Bronx, NY
New York City FC: Sean Johnson; Ronald Matarrita, Ben Sweat, Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm; Ebenezer Ofori, James Sands (67’ Eloi Amagat), Alexander Ring; Maxi Moralez (68’ Jo Inge Berget), David Villa, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (84’ Sebastien Ibeagha)
SUBS UNUSED: Brad Stuver, Tommy McNamara, Valentin Castellanos, Rodney Wallace
Chicago Fire: Stefan Cleveland; Brandon Vincent, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Johan Kappelhof, Nicolas Hasler; Dax McCarty, Brandt Bronico (46’ Djordje Mihailovic); Raheem Edwards, Drew Conner (46’ Michael de Leeuw), Aleksandar Katai; Nemanja Nikolic (75’ Alan Gordon)
SUBS UNUSED: Richard Sanchez, Jorge Corrales, Jonathan Campbell, Yura Movsisyan
47’ – NYC – Alexander Ring (Assisted by: David Villa)
51’ – NYC – David Villa (Assisted by: Maxi Moralez)
27’ – NYC – Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (YC – Unsporting Behavior)
Full Match Statistics: click here