New York City FC hit the road to Colorado where heightened altitude and heightened stakes awaited them.
Here’s Five Points presented by Etihad Airways…
Back to Winning Ways
After tasting unfortunate back-to-back MLS defeats, our Boys in Blue had dropped to seventh spot in the Eastern Conference and the hunt for a crucial three points in Colorado was on.
As City took on the Rapids, they found themselves down 1-0 early in the night, but they refused to back down.
Héber opened up scoring for the NYCFC with the help of his captain for the night, Maxi Moralez, to find the equalizer on the stroke of halftime.
Then, late in the second half, just when it looked like it might not be our night, a screamer from Alexandru Mitriță put the team on top, securing the maximum points.
While facing challenges like altitude, rain, and a 10-men Rapids team, the Boys in Blue came out on top returning to their winning ways and continuing their ascent up the table.
11 vs. 10
Colorado Rapids’ 16-year old Sebastian Anderson scored the first goal of the night in the 6th minute and became the club’s youngest-ever scorer but unfortunately for him, he also received his first red card on the same night.
Facing a team with 10-men sounds easier on paper, but it doesn’t always play out like that, especially when a team has a lead to defend. Colorado’s formation shifted and they hunkered in on the edge of their box, crowding the area, looking to maintain the lead.
City had to be patient. Dome’s men maintained possession of the ball and dominated throughout the 90+ minutes, trusting that the goals for the W would come.
When Dome subbed in Mitriță, NYCFC had a wealth of attacking opitions and after a shift in formation, they were able to come out of the match with a 2-1 victory.
The Brazilian number nine has been on fire for the Boys in Blue, coming through for them when he is most needed.
After bouncing back from injury, Héber has scored five goals in four consecutive matches. He leads the team with eight goals in the MLS regular season.
His presence on the pitch and in the locker room has lit a fire under the team as he sparked their 14-match unbeaten streak earlier in Season 5 and now he has helped them turn the tide after a luckless run of results in the league and cup.
If Héber keeps it up, City can slide into new heights with their striker leading the way.
In his words: “For sure, great things are coming for us.”
Mitriță was out for a few weeks while nursing a hamstring injury, but he made his return to full physicality and was able to travel with the squad to the Mile High City.
The Romanian started his night out on the bench for Torrent, waiting for his moment to come.
In the 63rd minute, he took the pitch and 20 minutes later, Mitriță found the back of the net from outside the box with a precise, finessed finish to give his side the lead.
He made his comeback in true Mitri fashion, scoring his fifth MLS goal #ForTheCity.
Climbing in Colorado
The Boys in Blue had fallen on the table to seventh place, having played the least games in the Eastern Conference, they found themselves behind by a small margin.
City’s big win on Saturday shot them up to fourth place, paving a pathway to the summit.
At the time of writing, NYCFC sits behind Atlanta United by one point, D.C. United by two, and the Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia Union, by seven points.
We’re now entering the business end of the Regular Season when it comes to the playoff picture, so it’s imperative we continue the climb, starting on Friday night vs. Sporting Kansas City in the BX.
The East is up for grabs and NYCFC is in the hunt.
Let’s keep climbing…