Tag Archives: Yankee Stadium

NYCFC’s Postseason Ends with 2-1 Loss to Toronto

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club’s playoff bid came to an end at the hands of Toronto FC on Wednesday night.  City’s “home field advantage” was anything but as the match was moved to Citi Field in Queens.  If you are reading this, you probably watched the game so a rehash of the event would be a real downer; this will be brief.

 NYCFC did have a few moments in the second half where they looked like their old selves, but the pace and intensity did seem to come from Toronto.  Toronto came in with confidence while City fans were all wondering aloud when the real Maxi Moralez, the resident playmaker, would make his presence known.   Many things were off about this slide over to the the other city baseball stadium, but it merely puts a spotlight on the elephant in the room:  NYCFC has no home.

The result of the match is heart-wrenching for the remaining die-hard fans.  We stayed to try to help comfort our resident 5 year old fan, Axl, last night as he wept into his father’s arms.  What a scene it became, as behind our group embrace, the sky was raining beer cups.   As Toronto players went to celebrate their victory on the pitch beneath their supporters’ section, from one level above them the angry and bitter NYCFC fans were throwing cups and cups of beer at the players.  It was embarrassing and fed right into the stereotype of what City supporters “are”. This behavior of so-called supporters after the match was deplorable and needs to be addressed as such.

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Image:  NYCFC Twitter

Equally depressing were the online comments and reactions about individual players and their responsibility for the night’s result.  Now, I get that it’s New York and we can love you but will turn on you at any given moment. However, these were particularly harsh and rash reactions, which do nothing but heap more sadness on the players.  These athletes are human beings and they know when they’ve messed up and made mistakes.  They watch them over and over on film.  

The only person these comments “benefit” is that keyboard warrior, for that instant.  I get it — fans were excited to continue on in the season — but someone has to lose in the end.  How does grinding salt into players wounds make anything better?  Think about the worst mistake you’ve ever made professionally.  Would you want people tweeting about how much you suck over and over?  What does that actually do?

Again, back to the no home issue.  Sources say that an announcement is imminent about next season and this will basically state that a large chunk of home games will be played at Citi Field.  This may be an attempt to have more home games on weekends as the Wednesday match situation this past season led to very low fan attendance.  However, the patience of NYCFC fans is wearing thin and the loss at Citi Field last night will only make this an even tougher sell.  The seat “equivalents” between Yankee Stadium and Citi Field were anything but, leaving long time ticket holders separated from their groups and, ahem, putting some raucous City supporters in very close proximity to the visiting supporters’ group section.  

A lot of work would need to be done by the club to address these issues.  Many season ticket holders have already jumped ship or renewed fewer seats in their package.  When the club was sold to the NYC community it was with the understanding that they would be playing out of a baseball field for about 3-5 years and yet here we are with no end in sight.  Or is this the end for fans?

Featured image: NYCFC

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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

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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NYCFC humbles Orlando FC 3-0

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Saturday, June 2: 3-0 Win

The atmosphere for Pride Day at Yankee Stadium was joyful and optimistic.  Rainbow flags and scarves freckled the crowd and a rainbow of 49 colored seat overlays was laid out for the visiting Orlando fans by our own City in the Community youth. Accompanied by a first and second timer to a professional soccer game, I was excited to be back in the Bronx when it wasn’t pouring rain nor arctic cold.

In a surprising move, New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira did not start David Villa, opting for an initial lineup which included Anton Tinnerholm, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Jo-Inge Berget and Jesus Medina as attacking midfielders/forwards.  Was Villa not started in order to rest him for upcoming big games such as the US Open Cup versus the New York Red Bulls and next Saturday’s match versus Atlanta FC?

While NYCFC dictated much of the the pace of play, Orlando City FC‘s physically intense defending made it difficult to maintain extended possession.  Tinnerholm’s offensive minded style of play made for an easy transition to this role, as he worked well with Tajouri-Shradi and Medina.

Tajouri-Shradi continues to be our most reliable offensive player, with each touch seemingly calculated and deadly.  (He’s scored 7 goals from 8 shots on target this season!) Scoring two beauties in this game with the second goal a banana-style cross which hooked past Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik.

I was equally amazed on that ball, how all NYCFC players moved out of the path of that shot, somehow knowing its trajectory was the net.  Sebastien Ibeagha alone deserves an assist at worst and a Tony Award at best for his decisive deception and screening of Bendik.

NYCFC celebrates Isi's second goal.
Tajouri-Shradi is hugged by teammates Moralez and Tinnerholm after his second goal. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

Speaking of reliable, no one has been more steady, if not spectacular than goalkeeper Sean Johnson.  This was Johnson’s 5th shutout of the season which he pulled out two point blank saves, his 49th and 50th of the season.

The biggest boss move of the game was when Orlando FC’s Sacha Kljestan was awarded a penalty kick and Johnson stood with his arms and legs reaching as wide as possible on the goal line.  Kljestan subsequently kicked the shot wide.  That PK would have tied the game and who knows how it may have changed the final outcome.

Sean Johnson post Orlando
Johnson celebrates his 5th shutout this season over Orlando FC. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

Unfortunately, a great majority of fans have completely lost all remaining patience for Berget.  His lack of finishing ability leaves most to scratch their heads, guessing Vieira’s rationale for continuing to start him.  Yes, he opens up space, he physically takes defenders on which does lend breathing room to teammates, but a striker’s job is to score.  No more excuses.  Berget got a chance to play his “real” position of striker and wasn’t able to produce.  Please sit him.

On the flip side, was the seemingly eternally benched wunderkind Jonathan Lewis who came into the game for Tajouri-Shradi in the 80th minute.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw his name on the screen and was excitedly shouting to my section “It’s Jonathan Lewis!  He’s actually coming in!” Most people smiled back politely as if to say “Okay, strange overenthusiastic person” but they don’t realize how much many of us have been clamoring for him to play this season.

In the 13 minutes he played, Lewis did not disappoint with his speed and ability to maneuver around physical defenders eventually initiating the play that lead to Maxi Moralez‘s goal in the 87th minute.  Hopefully, this is the start of the Lewis era in the Bronx.

Jonathan Lewis
Lewis on the attack. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

With the busy and challenging schedule ahead, we will need contributions from everyone.  See you after the US Open match against “The Team that Shall Not Be Named”.

All images by Tisha Gale for MLSFemale.

Featured image: Tisha Gale @gale_tisha

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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Winning While Waterlogged

C.M. Brandon - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official New York City FC Reporter

By C.M. Brandon // @lukacharms

Saturday, June 17: 2-1 Win

This game should not have been played.

It’s great that it was, considering NYCFC came away with three crucial points to propel them to third place in the Eastern Conference and overall, but at the end of the day it really should not have continued past half-time. It poured buckets on Yankee Stadium, and the pitch more resembled a small lake than anything else. Players were kicking up waves of water when they went for the ball, which often skidded to a stop long before it reached its destination. At one point is was said that the match would be suspended if the ball stopped moving entirely.

Which… happened. And yet the match continued! Whatever, I guess. Let the water ballet commence.

Both teams had difficulty acclimating to the conditions, which made for a match that was somehow both extremely sloppy and woefully boring to watch. Aside from the slow-motion loping across the pitch that led to Cristian Roldan‘s goal, very little in the first half stood out. NYCFC’s best (read: least awful) chance came during stoppage time, when David Villa pinged the ball off the crossbar.

There was some concern bubbling up that it would be another one of Those Matches for NYCFC, coming hot off the heels of the U.S. Open Cup loss to the New York Red Bulls. Missed chances, deflections off the post, and bad luck compounding on top of awful weather. Nobody wanted to see that again. We came to be entertained.

Villa heard the call, come on New York, and he responded in kind.

C.M. Brandon - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Image of David Villa courtesy: @NYCFC

Debate all you want about NYCFC’s equalizer, which came off a penalty call early on in the second half. Contention over referee decisions is the most boring part of football to me. The only hill I’ll die on is that Villa wasn’t diving — in fact, he clearly gets up and keeps going for the ball after he gets knocked down. Which, you know. Kind of defeats the purpose of a dive. He’s grown a lot since he was going for Olympic gold in diving back at FC Barcelona, guys. He isn’t that guy anymore. (Thank god. I hated that guy.)

But nobody can deny the majesty that was Villa’s second goal of the night. Jack Harrison was at his Jack Harrisonest, coolly fighting off Seattle Sounders FC defenders to create space where no space previously existed, and when he sent the ball across the face of the goal, an entirely unmarked Villa was there to chip it in.

I find it funny that teams don’t mark Villa every second of every game. He’s the greatest DP in the history of the league, guys. If you don’t want to mark him, that’s fine, more goals for us — but it makes you look pretty foolish when he’s consistently wide open.

Regardless, that sealed the deal for NYCFC. Ugo attempted to net a third toward the end of the match, but after a great save from Stefan Frei, the ball ping-ponged about in the box to no result. Chad Marshall had Seattle’s best attempt at a final equalizer in the very last seconds of the game, but it wasn’t meant to be. After Villa’s second goal, the clouds broke over Yankee Stadium and the sun shone down on the boys in blue, weak but insistent. A sign, surely, that things were meant to go their way.

A few bits and bobs, while I have your attention:

  • David Villa now has over fifty goals for NYCFC, and you can watch them all here. Can you pick a favorite? I can’t. Every little thing he does is magic. (Also a cool stat: He’s never gone longer than a playable month without scoring since NYCFC began. What a guy.)
  • I’ve seen conflicting reports on the length of Alex Ring‘s contract with NYCFC, but whether it’s one year or two years, here’s my suggestion: Extend it for five more and keep him forever and never ever let him leave. Despite Villa’s brace, Ring was my Man of the Match against Seattle. I don’t even know how many duels he won. At some point it feels futile to keep count.
  • Alexander Callens is currently my favorite NYCFC player on social media. Why? That boy loves Dragon Ball Z. He loves it. And now he’s graduated from snapping himself drawing watching DBZ episodes and drawing DBZ characters to posting DBZ fanart of himself. I’m so endeared, it’s absurd.
  • (Disclaimer about how you could not pay me enough to care an iota about either of the US NTs goes here, and how writing about MLS does nothing to change that.) T-Mac and Sean Johnson have been named for the Gold Cup provisional squad! Who knows if they will make the final cut or not. It’s an honor just to be nominated.
  • A bit preemptive, but in July I’ll be guesting on the hilarious Blue Balls podcast! Gaby Kirschner guested on their most recent episode and it’s my favorite so far. If you’re a NYCFC fan, please give them a listen!

Next week is the Hudson River Derby (again?) at Red Bull Arena (again??) and… yours truly will be MIA due to moving house. But fear not! We do have Sylvana over in the NYRB section, who I’m sure will do a bang-up job writing about the match no matter what color New York ends up being next weekend.

It’s blue, though. It’s always blue.

Featured image courtesy: nycfc.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @lukacharms

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Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017

A Good Four-Nothing

Official New York City FC Reporter

By C.M. Brandon @lukacharms

To expect a home opener as good as this one would have been hubris.

Last week, I mentioned the major takeaway was that if nothing else, New York City FC looked comfortable. No early season jitters to be found, plenty of confidence, just some unfortunate luck in front of the goal. Turns out it wasn’t a fluke!

NYCFC had it all this week. Possession, space, patience, hunger, and goals. Rodney Wallace opened the score sheet just eight minutes in, attacking the ball Jack Harrison ricocheted off the woodwork. For the third consecutive year, David Villa scored in the home opener — and for the second consecutive year, he scored a brace at that. What a mighty fine captain. And just as everyone was getting comfortable with all this talk of how Maxi Moralez contributes everything but goals, he picked up a gem of a pass from Villa and snuck it coolly into the net.

I ceased to exist on this physical plane somewhere around Sean Johnson‘s fourth save of the day. Not to get too presumptive, but I have to wonder if he really is the answer to NYCFC’s goalkeeping woes (all the love in the world to Josh Saunders, of course, but let’s be honest).

While he’s still working out how to best communicate with his defense — on top of the defense still learning how to gel into a cohesive unit — I’m already impressed by his skills and can see that he’s going to be a key man in many matches. A self-assured, stalwart keeper can do everything to boost the morale of the whole team. If Johnson keeps putting on performances like that shutout, the trickle-down effect will be glorious.

Five of the starting eleven were making their debut appearances at Yankee Stadium. Aside from the goals by Maxi and RodWal and the brilliance of Johnson between the sticks, Alexander Callens and Alex Ring also put on a stunning show for their first match at home. Ring was everywhere, making beautiful recovery runs like they were easy as breathing, and Callens proved solid in defense. Welcome to Yankee Stadium, boys!

Image courtesy: @rodwallace22

Our home matches are a blessing and a curse. Everyone is well aware by now that we have the smallest pitch in MLS. That means one well-placed pass can take the players practically from box to box. When that works in our favor, as it did this week, it’s great. But when we get a taste of our own medicine and get caught on a counter, it can be disastrous. Good news: That didn’t happen this time! Defense put in work. I’m so proud.

As always, here are a few random thoughts that struck me throughout the match:

  • Rónald Matarrita reminded me, for the umpteenth time, that I really need to buckle down and write a profile on him before he inevitably takes his prodigious talent to another club. Mata was easy to mistake for one of our attacking players in this match, and yet he never wavered on his defensive duties. He’s the whole package. He’s perfect. I guess I should confess that he’s my favorite NYCFC player! (Also, his celebration dance with Wallace was adorable. Pura vida!)
  • I respect Frank Lampard, and I appreciate everything he did for us, but I can’t say I miss him much. This squad is already looking much stronger than last year’s.
  • Thomas “T-Mac” McNamara in the captain’s arm band. That is all. Powerful heart eye emojis over here.
  • Special shout out to Ethan White, who replaced RJ Allen at right back as the only change from last week’s lineup. While his style of play isn’t as thrilling as other defenders, I’ve always appreciated his quiet, steady presence. There’s no player more willing to step into any role NYCFC needs and do his level best. (Including photographer!)
  • I feared for Maxi’s life several times throughout the match, but none more so than when he was swarmed by his own teammates after scoring. As a fellow vertically challenged person, I’m well aware that the Group Hug Forest can be a terrifying and unwieldy place. So many torsos and limbs at face level. Be careful with frasquito, guys.
  • No, you cried when everyone chanted “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!” after Villa’s second goal.

Kick your feet up and settle into Yankee Stadium, folks, because we’re here through the rest of the month. On Saturday we face Montreal Impact before the first international break of the season. (Which reminds me, I have a list of Croatian internationals I’d like to see on NYCFC, but that’s an impassioned plea for another time.) Until then, keep soaking up the win! We earned it.

Featured image courtesy: @NYCFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @lukacharms

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017