NYCFC was back in the Bronx for their fixture against D.C. United. The Boys In Blue wanted to extend their good momentum after the result last week. Players like Santiago Rodriguez and Keaton Parks were going to be essential in the team’s hunt for another 3 points.
The visitors were aware of NYCFC’s skillful midfield, but I’m certain that they also knew the team’s predicament upfront. If you add the fact that they had a player like Cristian Benteke, the visitors might have felt a sense of advantage. In the end, two teams with similar realities faced each other with the hopes to start climbing spots within the eastern conference.
Keaton Parks continues to showcase his talent:
In a lineup that kept many of the starters from the last fixture, the attention turned to three players. Luis Barraza, Matias Pellegrini, and Talles Magno are three fighting for their positions within the team.
However, the player with the most pressure was Talles Magno, his struggles to play in the striker role were starting to raise concerns among the fanbase. But as I said in my pre-match analysis, Talles was going to score. Pellegrini was given a chance in that left-wing spot once again, and it’s safe to say that he could have secured his spot after his performance.
The Argentine took matters into his own hands from the start. His movements and associations with Keaton Parks increased even more than last week. He caused the first yellow card of the match in the opening minutes. His confidence looks to be on the rise with every passing game, so much so that the manager praised his work rate in the post-match press conference. In all honesty, I’m glad that he continues to improve, it’s always good to be proven wrong whenever you analyze players.
Keaton Parks continues to pull the strings in midfield alongside Sands and Santiago Rodriguez. The tempo and vision he possess were on full display once again to open the scoreboard. A pass between the lines was enough to catch DC United’s backline out of position. All that was left to do was to cross it into the box and find Talles Magno.
The Brazilian was not only in the right place at the right time, but he also opened his goal tally for the season. Hopefully, it was the first of many more to come, but for now, this goal is enough to bring his confidence back and take the pressure off his shoulders. The 9 debate might be on mute for now, but it will be a constant shadow whenever Magno doesn’t find the net.
It was Keaton who also started the play for the second goal after he won the ball back near the midfield. He found Gabriel Pereira with enough time to set Santiago Rodriguez free on the right wing.
The conclusion of the play had two outcomes, somehow find the angle and score yourself, or cross it to the box for a tap-in. Fortunately, he found the corner of the net, and the Uruguayan gave NYCFC a 2-goal lead, had that not been the case, the criticism for being selfish would have been massive. Regardless, the scoreboard and the overall team performance in the first 45 minutes were near perfect, or at least that’s what many of us thought.
The secret weapon:
Wayne Rooney introduced three changes at the start of the second half, something expected if you were dominated for 45 minutes. What wasn’t expected was how quickly the opposition was going to bounce back.
In a matter of seconds, DC United pulled one goal back, and Benteke could think ahead and anticipate a cross, leaving Barraza without a chance to do anything. While it wasn’t the best start, most of us didn’t expect NYCFC to lose control of the game after that goal. The gray areas appeared once again, set-piece plays were becoming more of a threat as time progressed. At some point, NYCFC couldn’t get out of their half, and there were a few misplaced passes that could have ended in goals for the visitors. When these situations happen, it’s important to have a secret weapon on the bench.
If there was anyone who could get us out of trouble, it had to be Thiago Andrade. The Brazilian enjoyed a positive record against DC United. He was the one who scored the winning goal against DC United in the previous meeting at Red Bull Arena. Who can forget that run from box to box to give us the winning goal? Would he do it again with less than 10 minutes remaining?
For some, a scenario that didn’t seem possible due to how DC United gained control of the match. But all it took was a small high pressing moment for Santi to win the ball back. Dramatically, Andrade chipped the ball to beat the goal goalkeeper and finish off the match in NYCFC’s favor. The 3-1 scoreline was set with Andrade coming to the rescue once again. However, DC United didn’t leave without a fight and scored a score immediately after Thiago Andrade. The set-piece plays came back to hunt NYCFC and gave the fans a bittersweet feeling in the end.
The manager acknowledges that some games are difficult to close. DC United attacked the team’s weak points in recent times. However, he praised the fan’s support and highlighted the team’s obligation to perform well at home. NYCFC earns back-to-back wins that place them in 5th place, they will now travel to face Houston Dynamo this upcoming weekend.
On a personal note, it was a dream come true for me to be face-to-face with a legend like Wayne Rooney. While I wasn’t able to ask him a question, it was incredible to see how imposing he was. I guess I got to feel how his rivals felt wherever they faced him as a player. From watching him on Tv growing up to seeing his team carry out his vision as a coach. Hopefully, he sticks around for an interview in the near future.