New York City FC wins at last in their return to the Bronx

Julian Fernandez scored the game winner | Credit: @aleizphotos
Julian Fernandez scored the game winner | Credit: @aleizphotos

The draw in Queens last week fell short of expectations for New York City FC. But picking up a point is always better than walking away empty-handed, even if it’s a home game. Returning to the Bronx was the perfect opportunity for the team to get back to winning ways. The New England Revolution arrived with a setback after their elimination from the CONCACAF Champions Cup against Club America. But having won their previous league fixture, they had all the motivation they needed to obtain a good result on the road. 

Finding the rhythm 

There was no question about it, New York City had to get the result against New England. The team only made one noticeable change, which allowed Ojeda the opportunity to make his first start with the squad. The young Argentinian had previously participated with New York City FC II in their U.S. Open Cup fixture in previous weeks. He made a good impression and now saw minutes with the first team. However, the collective goal remained the same.

First, find Bakrar and end his scoring drought, then a clean sheet, but most importantly get the 3 points.

Hannes Wolf came close to opening the score | Credit : @aleizuphotos / instagram
Hannes Wolf came close to opening the score | Credit : @aleizuphotos / instagram Credit: Hannes Wolf came close to opening the score | Credit : @aleizuphotos / instagram

The first half itself was a reflection of what the team has been doing this season. They were unable to finish the play correctly despite having possession and pressing most of the time. Santiago Rodriguez had another outstanding first half with dribbles and passes that unstabilized  New England’s tactical positioning, but not finding that last touch made his moments of brilliance irrelevant. This allowed New England the opportunity to create chances for themselves. 

Carles Gil and Giacomo Vrioni had the opportunity to put New England ahead, but Matt Freeze came through once again to keep New York City in the game. The match remained scoreless through halftime, but Hannes Wolf left a preview for what was to come for the second 45 minutes. 

Team celebration in the Bronx | Credit: @aleizuphotos / Instagram
Team celebration in the Bronx | Credit: @aleizuphotos / Instagram

The second half picked up where it left off, with both sides fighting for control. Fortunately, New York City’s momentum prevailed and would go in front in the 57th minute. Kevin O’Toole was able to put a cross into the box that nearly found Hannes Wolf, but his blocked shot found an unmarked Agustin Ojeda to find the back of the net with a long-distance shot.

It was the perfect start for the youngster, first start, first goal. He could have scored two during the game, but Henric Ravas made two consecutive saves against Keaton Parks and Ojeda. New England’s goalkeeper became a key player for the visitors as he denied Julian Fernandez the opportunity to score from the bench.

New England continued to push despite New York’s momentum. Matt Freese made two key saves following Julian’s attempt. One of them was inches from becoming the equalizing goal should Freese have taken one more step to the right. He would eventually follow it up with a flying save after a perfectly placed header from the opposition.

Agustin Ojeda | Credit : New York City FC
Agustin Ojeda | Credit : New York City FC Credit: Agustin Ojeda | Credit : New York City FC

The goalkeeper is on the path to becoming New York City’s Player of the Season if he continues to display this performance level. But this was bound to be an Argentinian night at Yankee Stadium with Julian Fernandez scoring the second and winning goal of the match. A perfectly placed shot from distance secured the 3 points for the boys in blue after a solid collective performance by New England.

The manager addressed the work ethic and acknowledged that the team is slowly finding a way to find positive results. He also acknowledged the potential and quality that Bkrar possesses. “Whenever he doesn’t score, it’s on me. I will continue to work with him until he scores for us.”

The team secured the first clean sheet of the season and walked away with the win, which seemed far from possible a few weeks ago. They now prepare to host D.C. United in Queens this upcoming weekend. For New York, this is another direct rival in the fight to keep escalating places in the Eastern Conference.

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