New York City FC got back to winning ways on Saturday night, defeating FC Cincinnati 4-0 at Red Bull Arena.
Presented by Etihad Airways, here’s Five Points from an impressive display…
Two weeks ago, it took 39 minutes to break down Jaap Stam’s low defensive block. This time, it took just 30 seconds for Alexandru Mitriță to puncture through and set a club record for fastest goal in the process, outpacing Taty’s 2019 strike at Dallas by nine seconds.
It was a brilliant goal too, signaling NYCFC’s intent from the outset to make their incisive play count after the frustrations of the luckless midweek defeat to Toronto FC.
For Ronny, it was the perfect response. He told reporters: “When you score early of course it’s easier to score more goals. The whole team performance was really, really good. We didn’t give them anything, we kept a clean sheet and when you start scoring as well, it’s another step in the right direction.”
Strength in Adversity
Although they were facing off against a team who have struggled for goals in 2020, NYCFC had to overcome some adversity to get the three points at Red Bull Arena.
Missing Maxi Moralez, Alexandru Mitriță came into the no.10 role and it’s fair to say he was hugely effective in this role, scoring twice and looking dangerous every time he picked up the ball, winning plenty of free-kicks in dangerous positions.
Without Héber too, Castellanos led the line and the Argentine was excellent too, linking play together and running selflessly for his team throughout the 90’.
There was one blow in an otherwise perfect night when Alex Ring went off injured but it’s believed that the knock is not too serious.
Anton Tinnerholm also continued his incredible form with another goalscoring performance from defense.
There will be no MLS All-Star match this year for obvious reasons, but if there was, you’d have a hard time arguing against Anton deserving the right-back slot.
The Swede would be in with a good shout for NYCFC’s Player of the Season title too if it was being decided today, as he turned in another performance of the highest quality vs. FCC.
He must really have it in for Cincinnati too… Tinnerholm has now been directly involved with five goals (two goals, three assists) in three matches vs. the team from the Queen City (h/t Opta).
Another boon for Deila and company was the performance of Ismael Tajouri-Shradi on his return to the starting XI.
The Libyan international has endured a frustrating time of it with injuries, limiting his involvement to date in 2020, but he served a big reminder of his quality vs. Cincinnati.
Although Isi didn’t get on the scoresheet, he did create Anton Tinnerholm’s goal and generally looked dangerous on the wing throughout his 77 minutes on the pitch.
Tajouri-Shradi said: "For me, I've been waiting [to start again], and today I got the chance. I wasn't happy with the [injury] and I think everyone [knew] that, but I was training and working hard. I'm just happy to be back and I want to do more for the team and for myself."
You wouldn’t wish an acl injury on anyone, but it was extra devastating to see a man who embodies the “Joga Bonito” spirit and the joy of play go down with one last week.
It was a heartbreaking sight to see Héber leave the field like that vs. Toronto but before kickoff on Saturday his teammates showed exactly how they feel about the man from Colorado do Oeste, taking a specially-printed jersey out onto the field for the pre-game shot as a tribute.
It’ll be a long road to recovery for the 29-year old, but he’ll be back stronger with his teammates and New York City behind him every step of the way.