New York City FC enjoyed a brilliant 2-1 win away to LAFC on Saturday. The result took NYCFC up to 11 points for the season.
Here’s Five Points from the win in California, presented by Etihad Airways…
If you were after some Saturday evening entertainment you picked the right game in LAFC v NYCFC.
The Boys in Blue were presented with a test of character when they conceded to Corey Baird in the second half, but they passed with flying colors.
It would have been very easy for the team to go inside their shell and wilt against further pressure from Bob Bradley’s side. Instead, they rode that wave of pressure to get back into the game and then kept going, even after Nicolás Acevedo was dismissed.
This was a massive win, as club captain Sean Johnson explained: “It's a massive moment for us. We've been in situations, on the other end of results, late on in games, and now we really had a chance to show our character.
"Right before we walked out, we said it's about believing, at any point in the game. This group is extremely close, the togetherness, that’s never going to be questioned, but I just challenged the guys to always believe."
He went onto add: “I think we saw it in the game where every single player that came on, gave us a spark. I know we went 1-0 down, but there was just a hunger and something about the group today that we just we never believed we were going to lose that game.”
If LAFC had a dash of fortune with the cross for their goal, you could not deny the quality in the build-up prior.
Diego Rossi’s pass, Mark-Anthony Kaye’s run, it was a smart combination that caught NYCFC out and highlighted a central principle of the team’s identity.
LAFC enjoy operating in the half-space (the area between fullback and center-back), and it’s usually the likes of Rossi and Carlos Vela causing the most havoc.
The reason Kaye’s run was so effective is because it utilizes blindside positioning. That tactic stops the defender from being able to look at both their opponent and the ball at the same time.
Credit to NYCFC, Bradley’s side have done a lot more damage to opponents using those methods during their time in MLS, but they were limited to just one decisive moment on Saturday.
One of the things we covered in the Keys to the Match this week was the ability to cause LAFC problems by pressing them in their own defensive third.
LAFC’s eagerness to play out from the back is admirable, but it also makes them susceptible to counter-pressing, and that’s exactly how NYCFC got back into the game.
As we see with the goal, a combination of hard work from Talles Magno & Ismael Tajour-Shradi allows Anton Tinnerholm to step in and win a loose ball.
The other aspect we touched on was the need to be decisive when winning it back, and Tinnerholm checked that box. His first-time pass gave Jesus Medina a look at goal, and all-in-all, this was a brilliant move that highlighted the team’s quality and cohesion.
Fortune Favors the Bold
Ronny Deila deserves tremendous credit for Saturday’s victory. The NYCFC Head Coach could have waited longer to make changes or have been more conservative with his changes.
Instead, he opted for a quadruple substitution, and it didn’t take long for two of those players to influence proceedings.
Tinnerholm and Tajouri-Shradi played an important role in Medina’s equalizer, while another sub, Alfredo Morales, flicked it on for Tajouri-Shradi to nick the winner.
The change in pace after Deila's subs was easy to see, and that was important in turning the tide and giving NYCFC a much-needed victory. The moment called for something new and dynamic, and Deila delivered just that.
Talles Magno Debuts
There was certainly a lot of excitement surrounding the arrival of Talles Magno from Vasco da Gama. Deila teased the idea of giving the teenager a cameo against LAFC, and he may have hoped to introduce him with the team comfortably ahead.
Instead, he needed Talles to help spark something, and alongside his fellow substitutes, he did a solid job of injecting urgency and dynamism into the game.
The unfortunate red card for Acevedo forced Deila into another change, and Talles was removed to introduce Sebastian Ibeagha. However, the youngster was bought for the long-term, and there were flickers of his potential on Saturday.
“I’m very happy to make my MLS debut,” he said afterwards. “I am adapting and it is certainly a pleasure to be here. It is only the beginning. The team fought to the end to win the three points. Great victory.”
Next up for New York City FC is a meeting with New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena on Saturday June 19, with kickoff taking place at 7:30 PM ET (YES Network/NYCFC.com/Radio).