NYCFC wins in the Bronx and continues the playoff push

Credit: Melinda Morales

It was win or go home for NYCFC as they hosted Montreal on Wednesday night. The defeat against Cincinnati over the weekend made the fixture a season-defining match. With no room for mistakes and Chanot’s departure announced a few hours before the game, the pressure was boiling for the Boys in Blue. Could they play under pressure? Or was Montreal going to end the season early for New York? 

The fight continues 

The team took the field with changes in the squad. Matt Freeze was on goal in place of Luis Barraza. In midfield, Andres Perea and Richie Ledezma took over for Santiago Rodriguez and James Sands. The changes while necessary (due to injury) provided a more attacking setup. The game, in general, started off well for NYCFC, they controlled the tempo of the game with good passing and high-pressing. In fact, they created the first chance at goal passed the 20th-minute mark with a free Kick by Braian Cufre. Montreal did respond through Opoku, but Freeze was calm and collected to keep the opposition away.

The Boys In Blue settled the match in the space of 10 minutes. A perfect counter-attack started by Perea inside his own box was smoothly transitioned through Keaton, Maxi, and Jasson, who was able to cut inside and place the ball in the top corner of the net. With the advantage set by the 30th minute, it was just a matter of maintaining the lead. Time continued to progress, and NYCFC maintained the rhythm. Bakrar sealed the match at Yankee Stadium in the 37th minute after a long pass by Risa. In a true striker moment, he was able to beat the defender through his strength. The striker scored his first goal in MLS since joining the team, while he did score in the Leagues Cup, that goal doesn’t count towards the regular season record.

Credit: Melinda Morales

The second 45 minutes saw key interventions by Freeze, who ended the night with his first clean sheet of the season. A very solid performance, to say the least, I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts again on Saturday. Keaton Parks attempted a half-volley, and Alfredo Morales saw some minutes as well. Santiago Rodriguez came off the bench, but the game was set and done by the 37th minute.

The question that remains now is why the manager holds off on making the Talles- Bakrar partnership form. It’s not like they both play the same position, right? But overall, the team secured a vital win in the Bronx. The result keeps the playoff chances alive and sets the tone for the match against Vancouver on Saturday. 

What should take place against Vancouver?

Line-up should remain untouched– Yes the opponent forces you to make adjustments, but based on the performance on Wednesday why mess around the winning formula? Keep the momentum going, especially with Andres Perea. 

Play Bakrar and Talles together – They both play in the positions they excel the most, playing them together might bring out the best of each other. It’s a good opportunity to see what can happen since the city derby is approaching.

Matt Freeze should start- While this is part of the first pointer, he has displayed security and confidence every time he gets a chance to play. He comes off a clean sheet, so might as well keep that momentum going.

Fan support- The team looked good against Montreal and it could be that there are only two more games at Yankee Stadium this regular season, it would be nice to see a good turnout in case the schedule doesn’t change.

Yankee Stadium Magic- While this pointer is strictly out of my books, the win against Montreal gave the Stadium that fortress feeling many of you know and love. Maybe playing in the Bronx is the push needed to make a playoff appearance.