New York City FC were held to a 2-2 draw by LAFC in the second home match of 2019 at Yankee Stadium.
Here’s Five Points from an entertaining bicoastal clash in the BX…
Signs of Progress
Two games vs. LAFC. Two 2-2 draws.
For the second meeting between these sides, they could not be separated after four goals were traded.
This time, City led twice courtesy of goals by Alexandru Mitriță and Alex Ring but Carlos Vela struck two levelers to deny Dome Torrent his first three points of the new MLS season.
While it wasn’t the result the Catalan Head Coach had in mind, he was at least satisfied with the performance which showed yet another marked improvement, game-on-game, from what he saw vs. Orlando and D.C.
Torrent told reporters: “The result I know is not good. When you draw the game at home, it’s not a good result for us. But if you ask me about the performance, I think we played well. It was the best game for now that we played so far this season. By far...”
Tricks from Treatz
Before this one, Alex Ring warned NYCFC’s upcoming opponents that Mitriță will only get better with more time and adjustment to a new league and those words were borne out by what we saw in this St Patrick’s Day showdown.
Mitriță took home the Heineken Man of the Match honors after his most influential outing yet, which included a stunning go-ahead goal for his first in City blue.
The Romanian had half of the field to run into and he did not err, beating his marker before cutting back onto his strong foot for the emphatic finish.
It wasn’t just his goal, NYCFC’s newest DP was a thorn in LA’s side all afternoon long with his balance and poise while dribbling at defenders a key feature.
His eye for set-pieces was there to see too, with another great free-kick beating Tyler Miller in the LAFC goal, if not the crossbar.
More to come, for sure, but an exciting glimpse at what's to come in Season 5.
Ring the Bell
Alex Ring is a man who certainly seems to be reveling in the added responsibility that comes with wearing the NYCFC armband.
Already in 2019, the Finn has doubled his tally for goals with the Club, from two to four in just three games in this young campaign.
Torrent has given Alex license to venture further forward on the field in 2019 and it’s reaping rewards with Ring’s technical quality now earning equal billing to his tenacity in the tackle.
Per Torrent: "The quality of Alex Ringy… maybe he can score six, seven, eight goals if we decide to play in that way. He’s an amazing player for us because he can play everywhere.”
Only narrowly edged out in the Man of the Match vote, Ring’s influence only grows with each passing game in his third season at NYCFC.
Ronald Matarrita returned for his first start of 2019 following a preseason injury and the Costa Rican international looked like he’d never been away vs. LAFC.
His crucial tackle in the 2nd minute of the game set the tone for an accomplished display, first in his customary left-back position, before he moved inside and moved up the field when Ebenezer Ofori was replaced by Ben Sweat.
Mata had to endure an injury-hit 2018 season but now he’ll be hoping that his bad luck is behind him and he can focus on earning minutes and regaining the form which saw him rated as one of the league’s best in his position before those injuries.
It was certainly good to see the popular defender back to doing what he does best.
Let’s just say it’s going to be a busy international break for your NYCFC Digital team, with eight players to cover during the first FIFA window of 2019 (at the time of writing).
Alexander Callens (Peru), Maxime Chanot (Luxembourg), Sean Johnson (U.S.), Jonathan Lewis (U.S.), Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica), Alexandru Mitriță (Romania), Anton Tinnerholm (Sweden) and Juan Pablo Torres (U.S. U-20) all joining up with their nations for a mix of qualifiers and friendlies across the globe.
It’s a big feather in the cap for the Club to have so many players involved on the international stage and now we’ll be keeping everything crossed that they return healthy on the back of some strong performances in their national team colors.
We’ll be back at the end of the month for a match at BMO Field against an in-form Toronto.
In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on how our players fare in these international matches right here on NYCFC.com and across our social media channels.
Good luck, boys!