BY ALANIS GUINADA
New York City FC fans gathered at Yankee Stadium for the second home game of the season on Saturday, March 18. The home team hosted D.C. United in a game that ultimately led to NYCFC’s triumph, with a 3-2 finish.
Both teams came into the match with a 1-1-1 record hoping to improve their spot on the table and gain three points. NYCFC entered the match with 0 injured players and a full squad available to play.
Within the first 11 minutes of the game, D.C. had committed three fouls that led to an eventual yellow card for D.C. United midfielder Russell Canouse. NYCFC created many chances, and forward Talles Magno was able to find the back of the net in the 17th minute, with an assist from Braian Cufré.
First ruled offside, Magno’s disallowed goal call was overturned after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check that confirmed he was onside, giving NYCFC the early lead.
D.C. United’s defense kept NYCFC at bay until the 37th minute when Santiago Rodríguez took the ball from a fast break, assisted by Gabriel Pereira, and opened up his tally with a right-footed shot to the bottom left corner.
The first half closed with D.C. United leading NYCFC in fouls, 6-3, and trailing in score 2-0.
The clean sheet didn’t stick for long, as D.C.’s head coach Wayne Rooney even admitted, “I don’t think I can repeat the language I used,” when asked about his halftime locker room talk.
Within the first 40 seconds of the second half, D.C. United forward Christian Benteke opened his tab with a header after a cross from Mateusz Klich, which would bring the team’s hopes alive of a comeback.
D.C. United’s Victor Pálsson received the team’s second yellow card shortly after for a bad foul and the match intensified as D.C. trailed in the second by one. The first yellow card to go to NYCFC on the night was shown to Rodriguez for shoving Klich on the sidelines after a tackle in the 53rd.
The NYCFC super fan crowd cheers became more intense each time D.C. United attempted to approach the net, which Head Coach Nick Cushing said played an important role in the win.
“We have a real responsibility and expectation to win in front of our fans whether it’s here or Citi Field, because the atmosphere is so good, again I can’t praise our fans enough,” Cushing said.
Thiago Andrade was subbed in for NYCFC in the 80th minute, and eight minutes later, put the team up by two goals with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner assisted by Santiago Rodríguez.
D.C. United tried to respond by scoring a late goal by Steve Birnbaum assisted by Klich from a corner and had opportunities to tie the game with nine additional minutes added, but were unsuccessful.
The NYCFC side played consistently in the first half with a few weak points in the second but ultimately came out victorious. Man of the match, Talles Magno, credited that to the team’s chemistry and spoke about how the match was special for him as he scored his first goal of the season.
“I’m very happy, my family is here so I’m happy to score in front of them and happy to score my first goal of the season,” Magno shared post-match in the locker room.
NYCFC look to improve their record on the road against Houston on March 25, and keep the momentum from this match’s win.
“We have to go on the road and win football games if we want to be a winning team,”Cushing said, emphasizing the importance of the team’s push in away games and how crucially they affect the season.