Tag Archives: New York City FC

#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Jay Jimenez

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

Each tattoo exemplifies an artistic narrative so powerful it is capable of shaping a person’s identity. The temporary pain and permanent markings show the wearers commitment to a specific interest. Tattoos are the only accessories a person always has with them. They are a symbol of our attachment to our inner selves, but they also provide a shared connection to the people and things around us.

The story behind a tattoo can sometimes serve as a great unifier among various groups of people. The ink and the meaning they hold can also be great icebreakers and conversation starters.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Jay at Yankee Stadium. Image: @TishaGale

For Jay Jimenez, tattoos represent a connection to family. His most recent tattoo, the New York City FC monogram, which he had done the same day as the UEFA Champions League final in May of this year, signifies his connection to his NYCFC family.

“I wanted another tattoo and I felt really connected to NYCFC, but mostly the bond with the other fans.” –Jay Jimenez (@dotdawriter)

His only other tattoo features five rectangles in a row, which symbolizes the bond he shares with his four siblings.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Tattoo up close. Image: @TishaGale

Jay sits in section 235 at Yankee Stadium with his NYC 12 family and fellow supporters. He has been a supporter since the club’s formation.

His favorite NYCFC memory comes compliments of the club’s home game against Chicago on July 22, 2017.  On this particular game day, it seemed like everything was going against City. Things started going downhill in the 12th min of play when Yangel Herrera picked up a red card. Chicago then proceeded to hold 66% ball possession throughout the match.

It was a tough game, “but somewhere in the supporter’s section, ‘Come on New York’ started and I swear the entire stadium was singing it. It gave me chills. It felt like we willed the team to win. I’ve never felt so close to something in my life.” –Jay Jimenez (@dotdawriter)

With the true New York grit that we’ve all come to love and admire, and a stadium of supporters bellowing out the battle cry, City managed to pull off a 2-1 win over the Fire.

Jay’s second fondest memory is meeting Jack Harrison’s mom for the second time. His first encounter with Debbie Harrison was at the MLS SuperDraft in 2016, when NYCFC acquired the first overall pick, Jack Harrison, via a trade with the Chicago Fire. Meeting the mother of your favorite team’s new signee is cool, but running into her a few months after at Yankee Stadium, and realizing that she genuinely remembered your first meeting is something extra special. The Harrison’s are undeniably missed in New York.

New York City FC faces off against Chicago again in their next home match on Wednesday, September 26nd, at 7pm.

Aside from cheering on his favorite team, Jay enjoys playing FIFA—although he admits, “I’ve recently been humbled by a friend so I’ve taken a break.”

When Jay’s not focused on all things soccer related, he works as a hotel manager.

Featured image of Jay and friends: Juan Carlos Rubiano @OhCitySaidI

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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Joy and Pain. In cold NYC rain.

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Saturday, Sept 8: 1-1 Draw

Sometimes you need fresh eyes to appreciate what you have.  Jess Houwen the MLSFemale reporter for Colorado Rapids arrived in New York City on Saturday and breathed some much needed fresh air into my outlook regarding the New York City Football Club experience. My big takeaway is that sometimes you don’t need to veer too far off your regular path to see things a different way.

After meeting up with Jess and my NYCFC sister Tisha Gale outside Penn Station, we hoofed it to Times Square. Yes, the place that most New Yorkers avoid at all costs mostly due to the slow-moving tourists and scary faux Hello Kitties accosting you for a photo. We had a few hours to spare before the NYCFC game against DC United up in the Bronx.

We popped into the M & M store on Jess’s promise of to-die-for coffee flavored candies. Sadly, they ran out of the coffee M&Ms but the caramel and the mint crunch ones are pretty damn good.  If I’m being honest, the walls covered in giant tubes of brightly colored candies were a sight to behold.  A place I normally zoom past without thought, I can now appreciate.

Another highlight of our pre-gaming tour was Tisha spontaneously juggling a soccer ball in the Adidas store to the amusement of fellow shoppers.

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Onward and upward we headed to the stadium on the 4 train.  Jess, embracing her inner New Yorker, purchased her first NYCFC scarf and became an NYCFC fan for the day (or maybe longer?).  I was excited to catch my first glimpse of Wayne Rooney and see how he and David Villa would match up this time. Of course, I went in low-key nervous as NYC was missing more than a handful of players due to injuries and international call ups and DC has been recently invigorated by the arrival of Rooney.

In the first half, we sat in my seats which are behind the goal, opposite the supporters’ section and we saw strong indications of deep respect and friendliness between Villa and Rooney.  On one occasion where the referee Kevin Stott was considering calling an offensive foul on Villa who was actually taken down by a DC player, it appeared that Rooney was intervening on Villa’s behalf.

Still scoreless going into the second half, we switched it up and watched from the supporters’ section, which is Tisha’s view of the game.  180 degrees from where I normally spectate and a world away, I got completely sucked up in the drums, the chants, the excitement and the frustration.

While we were in the bleachers, City was scored on by DC’s Steve Birnbaum in the 58th minute via a gorgeous free kick service by Rooney.   Then at the 86th minute, Villa leveled the score on his world-class shot, also from a free kick.  Pain and then joy experienced from another angle and with a different crowd.

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The match ended in a 1-1 draw and while fans in the supporters’ section more openly and creatively expressed both frustration with the poor shot accuracy and simultaneous relief at grabbing a point, those same emotions were felt by most NYCFC fans regardless of the seating area. From both of my vantage points, it genuinely looked like both Rooney and Villa enjoyed themselves.  Also from all angles, it was evident how solidly and intelligently James Sands plays in midfield, which is a big deal for the growth and development of the team and club.

It’s worth mentioning that DC United scored on one of two total shots while NYCFC’s finishing continued to seem cursed with only one goal out of  31 total shots.  This is on the heels of NYC’s loss to New England Revolution this week despite outshooting them 27 to 11.

City’s next match is away at Montréal, which I will be attending, on Saturday 9/22.  What we are clearly lacking right now is finishing ability.  We aren’t that far from our early-season dangerous attacking form.  Let’s hope that those players returning will bring a fresh perspective to get the team completely back to fighting form.

Featured image of Jess: Keira Smith

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A Message to the NYCFC Players

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

With the tough MLS scheduling, a slew of injuries and now international call-ups, we know that our pineapple isn’t looking very pretty. However, greatness is written on the backbone of those who can rise above adversity.

Tomorrow, we want you all to go out and play with tenacity, the same kind of grit you showed us against the New York Red Bulls on August 22nd. We—the fans—need to see the same indomitable spirit you so proudly displayed on that Wednesday night in the Bronx. It is in these moments when our true colors are revealed. Like Terry Bradshaw once said, “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.”

Tomorrow—our game against the reinvigorated D.C. United—is our challenge. We must remind ourselves of who we are and what we’re capable of achieving. We must show the opposing teams that they still have a lot to fear going into the playoffs. This is New York’s team and New Yorkers never back down from a challenge.

Tomorrow, the fans will be there in full force. The drummers will drum as if they’ve never drummed before. The capos will bellow out chants that will echo throughout Yankee Stadium. We will bring the noise, all we ask is that you bring the grit, and let us have ourselves a good ole New York style party in the Bronx.

Blood, sweat, and tears—leave it all on the field!

#ForTheCity

Featured image: @TishaGale

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NYCFC’s season resembling a slowly deflating balloon

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Wednesday, Sept 5: 0-1 Loss

The bright shiny balloon that was the New York City Football Club‘s season is slowly deflating and losing its luster. After this recent loss to the New England Revolution 1-0, it’s hard now to consider early season fan-think that our team is the best in the league and deserves to win “silverware”.

In this match NYCFC took 27 shots, of which 6 were on target, 12 were off target and 9 were blocked.  All of this shooting resulted in zero goals.  New England were able to score one goal off 11 total shots.  Unbeaten at home until tonight, fans are left scratching their heads as to what the core problems are and how they can be addressed to possibly salvage this season.

Yes, more shots were taken in this game than last but they either went wide or directly at goalkeeper Brad Knighton. David Villa seemed to constantly be taking extraneous touches which lead to him being shut down when a one-touch shot would have sufficed.

It’s clear we worked the left wing pretty well to get the ball down to New England’s third but the repeated high crosses from that side were quickly destroyed by the high number of Revolution defenders concentrated in the middle.  It looked like a similar tactic to the one DC United successfully executed in shutting down Josef Martinez in their victory last week over Atlanta FC.

Thus, I am very nervous about our prognosis for this Saturday’s game against the newly invigorated DC. The only silver lining is that our homegrown teen James Sands made his starting debut in midfield and played very well for 75 minutes. Coach Dome Torrent was pleased with his performance and now that he’s back from his short loan to Louisville perhaps we will see more of him on a more regular basis.

Until Saturday. Let’s hope the balloon still has some air left in it.

*Final thought– A noticeable factor for both teams was the embarrassing status of the baseball infield layover of grass. It became an area that both teams had to actively avoid as players appeared to be walking on ice. It seemed impossible to pivot on without one or two players falling in the process.

Featured image: @NYCFC

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Mixed emotions as NYCFC fall to Columbus Crew 2-1

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Saturday, Sept 1: 2-1 Loss

On Saturday, I bore witness to two poorly played soccer matches. The first was the local high school’s varsity team’s first game of the season, played by a team where most teenagers only touch a soccer ball during the 8 week season and the other was New York City Football Club versus Columbus Crew.  In case you were living in a hole, the final score for the latter was 2-1 Columbus Crew.  (And if you’re really curious, the high school team lost 5-1.)  I can’t say that these matches were that dissimilar from each other. The high school team faced one of the best in the league and will get better as the season goes on, but can we say this about NYCFC?

Consistent manpower continues to be an issue for New York City with players injured, out for international call-ups, red cards and yellow card accumulations. I have no doubt that rotating players and lineups messes with chemistry but we played last week with 9 players and moved quicker and faster with more desire than we did with 11 in this one.

Looking at some statistics about the number of lineup changes and its effects on game outcome over the past three seasons in MLS, Dustin Nation (@D_Naish) of American Soccer Analysis (@AnalysisEvolved) correlated the number of lineup changes with the three outcomes: win, loss or draw.  He found that more than 2 roster changes per game generally lead a team to be less likely to win.

I would be very interested in a further study of this data going back 10 years to include a few World Cup years to see if these events are independent variables. My gut says that there is definitely a connection between a “forced hand” (injuries/red cards/international call-ups) reason for changing lineups and strategically changing lineups to improve performance.  Hopefully, this is something that I can research further.

I started writing this match reflection with one part frustration, a half part exasperation and a pinch of collective woe-is-me self-pity.  I mean we wasted a huge rare opportunity to gain points in a week where both the NY Red Bulls and Atlanta FC also lost.  I was thinking about the supporters who take days off work, pack into small cars and travel many hours to give our team a rousing base of support.  I feel for them and the optimistic energy they bring every single game and why does this not translate into wins or at least into performances that we can be proud of?

And then I learned of the passing of a passionate NYCFC founding supporter and saw the immediate response across all parts of the club’s universe to help her family during an extremely difficult time. From the initial communication from New York City Supporters’ Club and setting up of a GoFundMe to which our club president was one of the first contributors, to Blue City Radio donating and raffling off match tickets, the response was swift and full of fierce loyalty to her. As reporter and podcaster Nick Chavez stated in a tweet, “Let us, as the family we are, help look after the needs of the family our beloved Tirzah left behind.” My deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Tirza Gonzalez.

As a female soccer fan, it can sometimes be a lonely place in the US. I have very few local friends who follow the sport at all, let alone MLS.  I used to think of fans of the sport as members of my species and then those who support NYCFC as my tribe. I’m seeing more clearly that this connection we have to our team and each other is family.

#SaveTheCrew

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All images: @TishaGale

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

For centuries, the practice of tattooing has been prevalent within many different societies. In some cultures, tattooing was a ritualistic rite of passage and in other cultures, it was purely about tradition. Today, tattooing has become more about self-expression. It is an art form that has had to overcome the stigma of being considered taboo.

Tattoos come in a plethora of designs and their significance and meanings are uniquely subjective.  For Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega, tattoos are about love and passion. Lalo is an immigrant from Mexico who moved to New York when he was just a baby. For him, getting a tattoo was a chance to combine his love for New York with his passionate support for his favorite MLS team, New York City FC.

“I got my tattoo right before the start of NYCFC’s second season. New York is the greatest city in the world and I wanted to do something more creative than the club logo. I wanted to celebrate both the city and the club.” -Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega (@E_Ortega18 on Twitter)

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Yankee Stadium. Image: @TishaGale

Lalo has been a New York City FC fan since the very beginning. You can always find him at Yankee Stadium in section 237, or on the road with fellow travelling supporters. He is the current president of the Westchester Chapter of The Third Rail Supporters Group. (@ThirdRailSC on Twitter) When he’s not taking part in NYCFC related activities, he spends his time in the kitchen as a chef.

When asked what his fondest NYCFC memory is, Lalo paused for a pensive moment before he responded.

“Honestly, I can’t just pick one. It has been one crazy ride since year one. The people I’ve met and become friends with have been one of the greatest parts of it.”

With the New York Derby around the corner, Lalo is here to remind us all that his tattoo—like his love for New York City FC, is everlasting. He proudly pumps his fist in the air and flexes his arm to show off the tattoo etched on his inner biceps.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Lalo. Image: @TishaGale

Featured image of Lalo: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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NYCFC goes down 0-2 to Philadelphia Union

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

It was a day of magical thinking. After a week of constant pouring rain in New York and days of player exit news and rumors, it was supposed to be a big day for New York City Football Club to get an important road win. City had an almost completely healthy team going in against Philadelphia Union and we had a ridiculously large and loud group of traveling supporters there to chant the team to victory.

At the same time, Twitterverse was awash with unsubstantiated but not shocking rumors of David Villa’s contract not being renewed for 2019 as well as Jesus Medina being pursued by OGC Nice and former manager Patrick Vieira for 6.5 million euros. This was on top of recent club announcements of the loan of our first homegrown players James Sands to Louisville City FC, the loan of defender Saad Abdul-Salaam to Phoenix Rising and the upcoming exit of Gio Reyna to Borussia Dortmund.

It was time to exhale, right? We had virtually our whole squad available to face the Union. Praise be, goalkeeper Sean Johnson was back from a shoulder injury. We were going to win the MLS Cup and it has to be this year with our first player, David Villa.

And yet we remained holding our breath after a tight first half with plenty of opportunities for both teams with a halftime score of 0-0. We could definitely let out a nice cleansing breath after the second half. That’s when we always see adjustments and get the mojo going.

Alas, the second half was a nightmare of bad passes, amateurish turnovers, sluggish defending and unimaginative offensive runs. It felt like a night of insomnia where your brain keeps churning out repeated cycles of irrational thoughts that make complete sense at 2 am but with reflection the next morning leaves you scratching your head and wondering why you didn’t get up and read a book to change the thought pattern.

In the blink of an eye, we were down by two goals, Jesus Medina and Alex Callens were out with injuries and Ronald Matarrita gets thrown out on a red card.

An injured Jesus Medina gets tended to. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

I know that I need to do some deep breathing, listen to a “sleep story” or two on my phone’s Calm app and just let everything go. Coming home from a vacation in one of the most relaxed places on earth to collecting your bags in JFK is a shock to the senses. New York City is an incredible place with literally a hundred languages spoken, countless world class restaurants, some of the hardest working people living in a completely horrible climate for most of the year. We truly live in a 24-hour city.

Maybe because of this, New Yorkers at times can have short fuses, are impatient and have ridiculously high standards, particularly with regards to our sports teams. NYCFC players must feel that constantly from both fans and the club’s owners.

I finally let the air out slowly and feel better calling the game a hot mess and allowing the team the courtesy of their humanness. I have reason to believe that they will learn more from this failure than we, as fans, can pretend to know.

And we will need all that wisdom, NYC grit, perseverance, energy and high standards if we are to defeat the NY Red Bulls at home on Wednesday.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Images by Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

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Dome said knock you out – NYCFC shuts out Columbus Crew 2-0

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Photos by Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

Between three home NYCFC games and the final rounds of Wimbledon and the World Cup last week, there was little spare time last week to do anything but take in the sporting spectacles.  And were they long ones- from 6-hour men’s Wimbledon matches to Croatia going to penalty kick shootouts in back to back matches, the key word was stamina.

Our own New York City Football Club tested their own stamina and fitness this past week with three games in seven days and came away with glowing marks earning three wins – all shutouts.  Last Wednesday, while walking into the press box, “Mama Said Knock You Out” was playing in the hallway and I immediately knew it was a good omen.  I mean who could forget the previous visit local legend LL Cool J made to Yankee Stadium?

This past Saturday New York City dug into the depths of the roster and into the magic of coach Domènec Torrent to pull out a huge 2-0 win over the visiting Columbus Crew.  You cannot talk about New York City’s success right now without adding the cherry on top which is that the team is winning without the injured David Villa.  This was unimaginable in prior years.

For the first few years of our club’s existence, he was our Obi-Wan Kenobi – our only hope. In this match the team had to face Columbus without Villa, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jo Inge Berget – basically the whole forward line. In the absence of many obvious options, coach Dome started Rodney Wallace, Ronald Matarrita and Jesus Medina up top.

Watching the first half of the game at Yankee Stadium behind Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen, I couldn’t keep my eyes off Medina.  He was everywhere trying to create plays, open up space, apply pressure, running at Steffen, making crosses and rebounding shots.  He was working his tail off.

Medina is only 21 years old and I know that NYCFC fans are impatient for a Designated Player to quickly start making “contributions” to the goal scoring rolls but I see a very calculated and cerebral player.  He looks like he’s always thinking and strategizing, yes sometimes to his detriment, but I believe he plays much better when NYCFC coaching and players give him the freedom to be creative on the field.

In the second half of this match, Medina executed beautifully on a pass from Jonathan Lewis,  smartly taking an extra second to hammer a shot accurately past Steffen.  Wingback Anton Tinnerholm added an insurance goal on a counter attack in which he successfully cut past the Columbus defender and Steffen, easily knocking the ball into the goal.  Looks of shock switched to giggles as he celebrated by karate kicking the corner flag.

Despite the score and the smart play of NYCFC, the game could have easily gone the other way as Columbus had 11 shots in the first half with 5 of them inexplicably going over the top or wide.  This was not an easy game by any means.

Much of this depth is due to Vieira’s building of the team last pre-season but the level and versatility of play seems to have improved in the past few weeks under Dome with game results speaking for themselves. Torrent has the expertise to see what the team is doing well and what needs to be adjusted pretty quickly and he must give incredible half-time talks.

All three games went to halftime with 0-0 scores and ended with shutouts. Dome also has been giving young players like Lewis and Kwame Awuah chances to contribute and switched things up by putting Matarrita into a more attacking role, something he’s done very successfully for his previous club and for the Costa Rican national team.

So was LL Cool J there in person last week bringing his previous good vibes or were they coming through via musical inspiration?  NYCFC’s next game is July 26th away at Orlando City Soccer Club.  I’m optimistic that the team can carry this successful momentum to the road. And Mr. Smith, please feel free to come to any and all games.

#SaveTheCrew

Images by Tisha Gale 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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NYCFC make an impact on Montréal, winning 3-0

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City FC has a tight schedule this week and faced the second of its three opponents on July 11th at home versus Impact Montréal.  The game was a snooze fest in the scoreless first half, with very little happening offensively besides some fruitless crosses by NYCFC wing Rodney Wallace and some relentless verbal tormenting of Montréal goalkeeper Evan Bush.

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Something happened during half time though, (besides this wedding proposal, ripe with a “Marry Me” NYCFC jersey!)

The Boys in Grey came out with fire in their bellies and under their feet opening up the scoring flood gates with three beautiful and very different styled goals by Jesús Medina at the 60th minute:

Ronald Matarrita at 65′:

Jonathan Lewis at 76′:

After the second goal, Montréal seemed to lose all their energy, barely pressing forward.  Recently lethal striker Ignacio Piatti did his best to make runs, looking for something magical to come his way but City defenders Alexander Callens and Sebastien Ibeagha easily shut him down.  Montréal’s lack of high (or even medium) press, allowed NYCFC to play out of the back for much of the game, which thankfully gave goalkeeper Sean Johnson something to do as he didn’t need to make a single save.

Some intel I learned postgame:

  • Jonathan Lewis, despite being “half English” is rooting for France, admires the playing style of Kylian Mbappe and Raheem Sterling and “said [a while back] that Croatia would go to the [World Cup] finals.”
  • In a week with three tightly scheduled games, Sean Johnson spoke of the importance of rest to stay sharp and the team’s focus on tactics. Interestingly, Johnson regularly incorporates yoga and pilates into his training year-round.
  • Ronald Matarrita is “always trying to score goals” and hopes that we all get to know him a bit better as a player.

NYCFC faces the Columbus Crew on Saturday July 14th at home.  Remember when we had to play them at “home” at Citifield?  Related to that, a New York Times article was released during the Montreal game about another possible stadium site.

Someday we will have our own home…

Images by Tisha Gale and Keira Smith

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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NYCFC squeak past the NY Red Bulls 1-0 at the #HudsonRiverDerby

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Photos by Tisha Gale (& Keira Smith) // @TishaGale

Sunday, July 8: 1-0 Win

It feels like it’s been a long time since New York City Football Club has played at home in the Bronx. The atmosphere at the Hudson River Derby felt a bit like a huge family reunion, ripe with banners, glitter, costumes, drinking and dancing and the obligatory distant “cousins” who are loud, overly opinionated and wear strange clothing.  And yet, it would be a super boring event without them.  IMG_0154

If we’re being honest, we need to admit that for much of our club’s history, the New York Red Bulls have handed our heads to us on a silver platter. Granted, they’ve had many more years to develop the knife factory.  They figured out how to defeat NYCFC pretty consistently.

A few things going into the July 8th match:

  • This was less of a sure thing for RBNY as both teams had new (ish) coaches with Doménec Torrent having merely two prior games under his belt and with Chris Armas at the helm for the Red Bulls, promoted to Head Coach upon last weeks’s announced departure of Jesse Marsch.
  • The match was at Yankee stadium which is notoriously hard for visiting teams to handle due to its narrow width.
  • NYCFC had both David Villa and Jo Inge Berget completely out of the lineup with Berget’s absence a last minute unpleasant surprise.
  • RBNY were missing Florian Valot, who will be out for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL

The starting lineup mixed in some faces we haven’t seen in a while such as Rodney Wallace on left wing, returning from World Cup duties for Costa Rica and Maxime Chanot as a center back after a string of mysterious absences.  On paper, it also looked like Maxi Moralez had striker duties for this game.  Despite the return of some veterans to the starting XI, it was clearly not the same old tactics in facing the Red Bulls.

For this game, the dyed-in-the-wool “Play out of the back” strategy was not to be seen and instead, replaced by quick restarts of long balls to the wings by goalkeeper Sean Johnson.  Particularly in the first half, this was effective in countering RBNY’s previously deadly high press as NYC kept 61.3% possession and won 54.8% of duels.

However, of the 10 NYCFC shots on goal in the first half, 5 were blocked solidly by RB’s defense, one was saved by Robles and the others were off target.  City could not squeeze juice from the pretty pineapple.

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In the second half, the Red Bulls held much more possession and seemed to be consistently on the attack.  Chanot settled nicely back into the center back role, a position that he shared with Alexander Callens for this game, clearing aerial balls, destroying low shots with sliding tackles and making life difficult for Red Bulls star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.

And yet there was a point that fans began to think that we would be okay with a draw and taking the one point.  Then Jonathan Lewis came in for Rodney Wallace and the whole offensive rhythm changed with Lewis dancing and weaving, overall giving the RBNY defense more to contend with.  Nine minutes after he came on, Lewis served a ball across the goal to Moralez who buried it.  At that point, it was all hands on deck to defend and protect the lead.  Besides the combination that lead to the goal, it was not a pretty game but it did the trick.

A win is a win – especially without a “striker”.

Pretty fly for a non-striker
Maxi Moralez entering the stadium before the match vs the NY Red Bulls

Next game is Wednesday, July 11th at home versus the Montreal Impact.

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Images by Tisha Gale and Keira Smith

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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