New York City FC made it back-to-back wins on Sunday evening against Orlando City SC.
Here’s Five Points from a great night for the Boys in Blue, presented by Etihad Airways…
Taty Earns His Goal
When Taty Castellanos pounced for his fifth goal of the season the relief was clear to see.
The striker produced the perfect all-round performance on Sunday with a goal and two assists, which only highlighted why his teammates think so highly of him. His selflessness for Jesús Medina’s opener involved him taking a hefty kick to the back, but it was that sacrifice that opened space for Medina to score.
In the second half, that same awareness presented itself for Maxi Moralez to find the net, and so it only seemed right that his compatriot played a significant role in Castellanos ending his scoreless run. So often we define forwards by their goal tally, but in Castellanos’ case that would be unfair.
The 22-year-old serves as a focal point for New York City FC’s attack, and while the game may have felt won by the time he added his name to the scoresheet it was rich reward for weeks of helping others. And best of all is his relentless attitude.
“I need to keep working hard, opening up plays, and work with the team to open spaces and find ways to the goal,” he said afterwards through a translator. “There is work still to do.”
Break The Streak
New York City FC and Orlando City SC are intertwined in MLS as two teams that joined the league at the same time.
The pair have played out some enthralling soccer, but it was important that NYCFC picked up a result on Sunday to snap a streak of results against The Lions. The Boys in Blue hadn’t beaten Orlando City since July 2018. To not only earn that victory, but do it in such emphatic style was a great moment for the team, and a deserved result given how well NYCFC have played of late.
As Head Coach Ronny Deila explained so well:
"When you produce the same performances over time we’re going to get what we deserve and today we played top football from the first minute to the last minute."
One of the many plus points about Sunday’s game was the chance for NYCFC to return to Yankee Stadium and play in front of fans.
Anton Tinnerholm has been vocal about how much he has missed that aspect of the game during the last 12 months, and it showed in the team’s performance. NYCFC started the game in rapid fashion, and while Orlando were missing some key starters, they posed a different kind of test for NYCFC.
Óscar Pareja opted to utilize a 4-4-2 formation and shut down the space in the Orlando half. That forced the Boys in Blue to be precise with the ball, and when they did get shots on target they met a formidable foe in Pedro Gallese.
In the end they found a way through via a quick transition, and while victories and five-goal games are wonderful, it was only enhanced by the fact it was done in front of a home crowd.
Malte Comes Up Big
There’s a strong chance that Malte Amundsen slept well on Sunday night, and not just because he had a standout game for NYCFC that included his first goal for the club and an assist.
The Danish defender joined the club during the off-season and has had to be patient for opportunities behind Gudi Thórarinsson. The Icelandic international has been a solid option at left-back for Ronny Deila, but with a quick turnaround of games it was time for Amundsen to show what he could do.
The tireless 23-year-old was a consistent threat during the game, with Deila asking a lot of the Dane. Maxi Moralez’s role on the left saw him often drift inside, and that created a lane of space for Amundsen to exploit.
Two of the team’s best chances in the first-half came from Amundsen overlapping, and his running continued right until the final moments of the game. When he wasn’t rampaging down the left he had the awareness to find Ismael Tajouri-Shradi in space for NYCFC’s second. He was rewarded for his overall industry with a well-taken goal in the second half that capped off a great performance.
Deila has consistently talked up the desire for competition pushing this group, and we saw the benefit of that on Sunday with Amundsen’s performance.
Five Star City
One of the themes of the last few weeks has been NYCFC not taking their chances. Ronny Deila has fielded a number of questions about the team’s ability to create chances but not score them, and what needs to change.
That all went out the window on Sunday with NYCFC enjoying one of their finest attacking performances of the 2021 season. Deila had mentioned midweek that it was important his team were confident and calm in front of goal and that’s what we saw against Orlando City, with NYCFC delivering five goals from an expected goals of five..
The other notable aspect about the performance was the quality of the goals, which was best evidenced by Maxi Moralez’s calm finish. The combination between Thiago Andrade, Taty Castellanos and Moralez pointed to a team that is starting to gel together as a group, and that bodes well for the rest of the season.