New York City FC emerged with credit from a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Orlando City on Wednesday night.
Here’s Five Points from an entertaining night’s play at the Exploria Stadium, presented by Etihad…
Test of Character
Falling behind early against an in-form Orlando team who were unbeaten in 10 coming into this match, many teams would have wilted, but NYCFC stood up to pass this test of character with flying colors.
Although Ronny Deila’s men only took a point back from Orlando, it felt like a big night for City as they rallied to dominate the final 75 minutes of the match.
Chris Mueller, assuming the role previously occupied by Cyle Larin as the Lions’ chief thorn in our side, scored his third goal against us this season on 18’ but that was where Orlando’s superiority came to an end.
Long before Keaton Parks equalized on 43’, New York were on top, overcoming a number of factors to get a point which could easily have been three on another day.
What about those factors… it’s worth underlining once again that road trips in this highly unconventional 2020 regular season are not like road trips in previous years.
Flying out on the morning of the game is not ideal preparation for a high-level soccer match but when you factor in the humidity, our injuries and the fact that Orlando had a free weekend while NYCFC were playing on Sunday, it only serves to show what an impressive performance this was for the Boys in Blue.
No wonder Ronny was delighted. He told reporters: “We played a really good game tonight against a tough opponent, down here in the heat, traveling the same day, three days after another game.
“We didn’t look like we were the team that played on Sunday. I’m really proud of the boys.”
NYCFC had been steadily growing into the game beforehand, but the hydration break really seemed to be the hinge point this match turned on, with the road team enjoying total domination from that point on.
Ronny was clearly animated in his address to the team, calling on them to step up the intensity and his words did the trick.
From Deila’s perspective, the opening 15’ were reminiscent of the defeat to New England at the weekend with our players just half a yard off the pace, so it’s even more encouraging that we found a way to turn that up in-game, especially with those 90’ from the weekend no doubt weighing heavily on the legs.
Keaton on Song
Keaton Parks was the standout player for NYCFC, earning the Heineken Man of the Match honors with 68% of the four-player vote.
Without his usual central midfield partner James Sands, Keaton seized the initiative, renewing his 2019 partnership with Alex Ring and laying the seeds for the excellent performance.
It wasn’t just his third goal of the season which caught the eye, but the Texan’s intelligent use of the ball, his ability to break dribbling with the ball through the lines, and his playmaking ability to dictate the pace of the game.
Another all-star showing from our guy Keaton, who is in his best form of 2020 at a crucial time in the campaign.
Coming up fast is another one-day road trip, this time to Columbus, where the Crew will provide the opposition.
Our hosts will be coming off a shock defeat to FC Cincinnati and will be eager to take out their frustrations on an opponent they have beaten at the MAPFRE Stadium in 2020, back in the Before Times.
From City’s perspective, that 1-0 defeat stung, especially because of the early red card shown to Maxime Chanot, so Deila’s side will be eager to emerge victorious over the East’s third-placed team.