Kevin O’Toole guides New York City FC to their first win of the season

new york city fc

After a disappointing defeat against Portland, all eyes turned to the fixture against Toronto FC. The possibility of going 0-4 at the beginning of the season was only 90 minutes away. All that was left to do was wait and see if the team could display some of the heroics from the game against Portland. The visitors arrived with an undefeated record, which for them is a great improvement from last season. New York City FC had no room for mistakes, knowing that a defeat conditioned them for the upcoming fixtures. 

A win at last for New York City FC

It wasn’t the best of starts in the Bronx. The visitors struck first within 7 minutes after a miscalculated rebound left Jahkeele Marshal-Rudy with enough space to beat Matt Freeze inside the box. With the team trailing again in the opening minutes, it seemed like the writing was once again on the wall for New York City after another defensive mistake. But compared to past defeats, this time, the team gained momentum from their setback.

Mounsef Bakrar was quick to create a chance immediately after Toronto scored. Santiago Rodriguez gave a preview of what was coming 17 minutes in.

Mounsef Bakrar, new york city fc
Credit: Anthony Surrusco | Mounsef Bakrar

With the team all out in attack, it was a matter of time before the team found the equalizer. In summary, the team created around 5 scoring chances within the first 20 minutes of the game. It was the type of reaction many of the fans in attendance were hoping for after the streak of ongoing results. 

New York City would finally level the scoreboard in the 24th minute after a bad turnover from Toronto allowed Santiago Rodriguez to be fouled at the edge of the box. In a moment of brilliance, Rodriguez executed the free kick with precision that only the very best had. The Uruguayan scored his second goal of the season, which gave most of us some David Beckham flashbacks.

It was the culmination of a perfect offensive wave that, in part, displayed the ongoing growth of chemistry between Hannes Wolf and Santiago Rodriguez. The European right-winger nearly ended the first half with an assist, but the shot by Keaton Parks was well blocked by the Toronto goalkeeper. 

new york city fc
Credit: Anthony Surrusco | Santiago Rodriguez

Mounsef Bakrar had the opportunity to seal the game in the 53rd minute, but he wasn’t able to finish his one-on-one chance against the goalkeeper. If anything, it was as if the message of intensity that the manager spoke of on previous occasions was finally making it to the field. The fans only had to wait 10 minutes to see the team up on the scoreboard again. 

A good buildup from the back saw Julian Fernandez execute a perfectly timed cross that found Kevin O’Toole coming from behind to header the ball into the back of the net. Following his buildup since his days at NYCFC II, he highlighted that he played as a striker at the beginning of his career, so seeing him score like that showcased his ability on the attack. 

The goal could have been a good way to aim at the possibility of a third and final goal, But a missed time tackle by Keaton Parks shortly after the goal changed the game plan completely. The foul was a straight red from any angle, yes it was unintentional, but a harsh foul nonetheless. It was the first time the team had to go all out in defense compared to other games.

However, the tactical changes helped the team hold on to the lead despite Toronto’s unnecessary harsh fouls during the remainder of the match. Ultimately, it was a win with a heavy price that made the extra effort worth it. However, if you look at the bigger picture, the team now loses five players for the upcoming match against Inter Miami.

If everything stays as it is, there’s a chance of a Messi-less Miami side due to his latest injury. But besides that, the team now faces two games on the road against complicated rivals. Should the visiting streak continue, the 3 points obtained against Toronto will be a short lifeline before returning home for consecutive fixtures.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: