Tag Archives: Ronald Matarrita

NYCFC’s chaotic win over New England Revolution, 2-1

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Walking into our seats tonight, our friend, a row over said “This is going to be Jesús Medina’s night.”  We laughed, winked and then commiserated about missing players due to international duty.  

If you have been following New York City Football Club over the past two years, you are aware that one of the Designated Player spots is occupied by Medina, a now-22 year-old Paraguayan forward who frankly, doesn’t play very much.  There are many theories as to why he has produced paltry goals or assists since his signing in 2018.

Going into this match versus New England Revolution, NYC was down a few key pieces of its regular attacking regiment due to international duty (Ronald Matarrita) and injury (Héber).  The team also went into the game without its regular starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who was called up to the US Men’s National Team for international friendly matches.

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The match was a strange brew of yellow cards, a red card, an early goal, late use of VAR and very uneven possession.  City was down a goal from 2 minutes in and then was up a player from the 7th minute due to a red card ejection for New England’s  Antonio Mlinar Delamea. But City just could not finish.  

NYCFC did not look like a team that was up a player for much of the game as the Revolution defended extremely well and goalkeeper Matt Turner had quite a game of beautiful saves.  Nobody would have predicted that the most important substitution of the match would be in the 60th minute, when Jesús Medina came in for Sebastien Ibeagha.

This substitution reinvigorated the attacking efforts of NYCFC in the middle and attacking thirds of the field.  Ten minutes later, Medina was able to bury a ball into the back of the net, his goal leveling the game. In stoppage time, Medina successfully executed a penalty kick to seal the deal for a NYCFC victory.

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I was not only happy for the win for the obvious reasons but also because another City player who was called up for international duty, defender Maxime Chanot, found a way to push back his date of reporting to the Luxembourg National Team until after he played in this game.  Chanot made his life a bit more complicated for the good of the team and his strong play in this match was necessary and much appreciated.

No matter how much chaos, luck, and uneven calls by the officials contributed to this victory, the player who stepped up big is Medina.   He delivered when the team desperately needed it and can consider himself back in City fans’ good graces.  More importantly, our friend Luis can call himself a psychic.

All images: @NYCFC

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NYCFC cuts off the Columbus Crew 1-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club faced off against an inconsistent Columbus Crew and managed to pull out a win.  As I’ve said recently, I was nervous about how this game would play out. As low on the table as Columbus sits, they have recently taken down good teams on the road, such as during their match with the New York Red Bulls.

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The Good

Defenders Alex Callens and Anton Tinnerholm returned to the lineup from minor injuries.  The first half was smooth sailing for NYCFC as they maintained tight possession in the middle and attacking third –  70% possession in fact.  

The attacking partnership of Héber and Taty Castellanos looked strong with both attempting through balls and diagonal runs in or around the box. Sometimes the passes were a hair off, but it looks like they are getting more and more in sync each game.  Castellanos also continued his goal scoring run by putting one in off a pass by Maxi Moralez in the 36′.  

The NYCFC attack was complemented by the left wing runs of Ronald Matarrita, which opened up space in the middle.  It must be noted that the eternally peppy Mata will attempt to chase down any and all passes.  In this match, his aerial crosses were not necessarily hitting their target, but they worked to scramble the Crew’s defense in front of the goal.  Columbus Crew’s goalkeeper Eloy Room worked very hard in the first half to keep it to one goal allowed.

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The Bad

The immediate reaction after the match was that NYCFC played terribly in the second half.  The main difference was Pedro Santos being subbed into the game for the Crew.  He played on another level from the rest of the fielded Crew team last night and is incredibly hard to predict and defend.  

Santos’ bursts of speed and runs into open space set NYC’s defense on their heels causing the team to lose patience with their tried and true plan of tight possession which had been set forth by head coach Dome Torrent .  Once Santos entered the equation, the team seemed to get impatient and would send long balls or crosses too soon and then were quickly needing to deal with the ensuing counter attacks.

A bit more good, though

With James Sands out for 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone and Ebenezer Ofori out with a knee injury , Tony Rocha started at midfield and looked like he’s been drinking the Dome Kool-Aid.  With his short quick passes to and from Maxi while making diagonal runs and his physical defensive pressure, he appears to be settling into the lineup.

Maxime Chanot defended extremely well throughout both halves, while goalkeeper Sean Johnson had to become very active in the second half.   At one point fans were worried about both of them as they  were down and clutching their heads after saving an attempt on goal.  Minutes later, Johnson saved a goal just outside the box with his own head.

So many questions

I can say that home fans breathed a sigh of relief to escape that game with three points.  Next up is a match with regional rival NY Red Bulls on Saturday.  

How will NYCFC deal with the typical RBNY high press?  Will they stay patient and stick to their game plan?  With RBNY’s physical style, will Matarrita start with a yellow card on his back?  Will RBNY be able to start the seemingly injured goalkeeper Luis Robles? Will any of this matter as Red Bulls seem to be the LA Galaxy to NYCFC’s West coast counterpart LAFC?

All photos by Juan Carlos Rubiano // IG: @ohcitysaidi // Twitter: @OhCitySaidI

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NYCFC Earns An Unexpected W In DC, 2-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

This week once again proved that anything is possible in MLS as Sporting Kansas City lost to San Jose and LAFC lost to Vancouver.  Continuing in this parallel universe of football, New York City Football Club bested the current top team in the Eastern Conference, DC United.  The win was in DC and with Wayne Rooney fully fit.  Many would never have predicted this outcome but it could be due to the learned helplessness taking over the collective NYC fan psyche. I mean the thinking was, If City can’t even win at home, how will they win on the road?

How did NYCFC pull off this modern day Easter miracle? Many signs point to the debut of City’s new number 9, Héber, who made his first start of the season.  Immediately there were signs of chemistry amongst him, new 2019 Designated Player Alexandru Mitrita and the team’s midfield backbone, Maxi Moralez.  In a post-match interview Héber compared the style of NYCFC and MLS in general as “tactical” football with more experienced players, while the Croatian league he previously played for was “faster” with younger players.  

I read into this as MLS being a more thoughtful and building style of play that stresses keeping possession while patiently moving players around to find the open space.  Furthermore, his experience playing with a faster pace means he’s accustomed to opponents being all over him so he can make quick and accurate attacking decisions with limited space.  This was fully demonstrated first in his assist to Alexandru Mitrita’s goal in the 35th minute and again in his own finish in the 56th.

It felt like NYCFC had the majority of the possession even though they only had 46%.  Maxi Moralez had the chance to make the game 2-0 before the end of the first half on an awarded penalty kick, but his strike hit the post.  It is doubtful that the tide of opinion will change any time soon on Coach Dome Torrent, but I do think that the decision to play Ronald Matarrita at left back was the right one as he generates offense out of the back with his pace, energy and overall chemistry with the midfield.  

Anton Tinnerholm and Matarrita both enjoy generating and building attacking sequences down the flanks via overlapping runs.  James Sands was again Mr Reliable throughout the game applying pressure and stopping most of DC United’s attempts at a counter attack.  It was a happy surprise that goalkeeper Sean Johnson had little to do in this match.  Although he did have one particularly nice save of a Rooney shot to keep the lead.

Ronald Matarrita
Ronald Matarrita goes wide – credit: K. Cahalin, NYCFC

A busy week continues with a must-win versus Chicago Fire on Wednesday and a tough test versus a surprisingly in-form Orlando City team on Saturday.  Rumors of injuries to several key players make this period even more challenging.

Featured image: @NYCFC on Twitter

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Lord of the Ring:  Return of the King to NYCFC aka The Curse is Reversed

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Wednesday, April 11: 4-0 Win

Going into Wednesday’s match, fans of New York City Football Club were cautiously optimistic.  Sure, we were yet to defeat Real Salt Lake.  Nope, they were never that strong.  Were they trap games in the past?  Maybe.  This time, was different and we were going to break the curse, even if our anchors David Villa and Alexander Ring still were not starting.  (Hey, they were listed as subs and that meant they were fit to play. Success!) 

The stadium in the first half was sparsely filled as it was a work and school night.  Even the supporters section looked a bit thin.  However, our Boys in Blue took possession quickly and held it, patiently building the offense through successive overlapping runs, through balls, razor-sharp crosses orchestrated by midfielders Maxi Moralez and Yangel Herrera.

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Medina, Moralez

While our offense rolled over RSL, the crowd built.  As the New York City balls found the back of Salt Lake’s net, snazzily dressed fans settled into their seats.  The supporters section became its frenetic, chanting, drumming self. By the end of the first half, City was up 3-0. 

New attacker and top 2018 scorer, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, was the first one to put one in the back of the onion bag, which was followed by a successful penalty kick by Maxi Moralez, who was tripped in the box.  And finally, Jo Inge Berget finished one off on a beautiful play initiated by Ronald Matarrita

Second half was more of the same dominance by New York but the crowd began roaring when Villa approached the sideline.  Our captain was coming into the game.  After three missed games, he was back.  Sure, his shots were a bit off their past perfection, but he was back to his usual sprinting for every through ball and intensely pressuring the keeper. 

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Villa

Also returning,  jumping in as a sub in the second half, was Ring and all was well in the world again.   The 4th NYCFC goal was scored on one of the most beautiful plays I’ve seen all season which started again by Matarrita on the left, involving creative touches and moves by Jesus Medina and Moralez who ultimately found Ebenezer Ofori in front of the goal to finish it off. 

Reunited and it feels so good

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Matarrita

Not only are Villa and Ring back and in fighting form to face our nemesis Atlanta United on Sunday, but big props to Matarrita.  Not only did he play well and initiate many of our goal scoring situations but he was positively glowing.  You could tell that he was enjoying every minute of the 90 that he played.  It was infectious, like the growing buzz around NYCFC. 

Images courtesy: Keira Smith/mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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