New York City FC enjoyed a winning return to the Bronx on Wednesday night, besting D.C. United 4-1 at Yankee Stadium.
Here's Five Points from a very fun night, presented by Etihad Airways...
Just like we've never been away.
It was September 25, 2019, more than one year ago, when NYCFC last hosted a match in the Bronx and the boys picked right up where they left off vs. D.C., delivering an excellent display of attacking football.
City got off to the perfect start scoring in the first 5' for the third successive match, this time through a Taty Castellanos penalty. When Ola Kamara leveled against the run of play from the spot, it could have been another difficult night for NYC against an extremely defensive opponent.
Vs. D.C. at Audi Field, Ronny Deila's men couldn't find a way through but there were no such issues this time, with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi adding two second half goals before Keaton Parks headed in the exclamation point late on.
All in all, a perfect reintroduction to our home field and more to come this weekend when New England Revolution come through.
Piling Them In
It has taken some time for the goals to arrive under Ronny in a crazy, interrupted 2020 but NYCFC have found their touch, to say the least, scoring 11 goals in their last three matches.
When a new Head Coach comes in there is always some adaptation time required, even if the system isn't so far away from what we've seen at Yankee Stadium in previous years, and so often in football, it's the goals which are the last thing to come.
Through NYCFC's excellent late summer form, the team was defensively stout and difficult to beat - now that goals have been added to that recipe, this team is feeling good about the road ahead, with the MLS Playoffs just starting to emerge into view.
With news that Alexandru Mitriță has joined Al-Ahli on loan until 2022, and with Héber and Maxi Moralez out of the picture, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi delivered a timely reminder of his quality last night, piling in two goals in an excellent Heineken Man of the Match winning performance.
The Libyan has endured a frustrating third season at NYCFC, suffering injuries at crucial times meaning he hasn't been able to help the team as much as we've come to expect, but piece by piece Isi has been getting back to his previous form, capped by a brace in this tremendous match from our no.29.
Next up it's New England, a team Isi has generally done pretty well against...
Shouts to Gudmundur Thórarinsson and Keaton Parks who combined for a beautiful final goal to put the cherry on top.
Gudi's first MLS assist was one that warranted plenty of replays - a beautiful arcing cross from the left side which was matched by Keaton's second MLS goal of the season, a towering header which kissed the underside of the crossbar before finding the back of the net.
With injuries requiring Ronny to be inventive with his lineups, especially without Maxi, Parks has been following up his great first season with the Club with a string of impressive performances through the summer and will be hoping he's on Gregg Berhalter's radar for the next USMNT squad.
These latest three points have really put NYCFC in control of their destiny as far as the MLS Playoffs go.
With 10 points separating us from the line, we're now closer to the top of the Conference standings than falling out of the qualification spots, meaning City can look up the league after recovering from their difficult start.
With just eight points between fifth-placed New York and Toronto at the top and seven matches to go, it's going to be an exciting run-in for the regular season.