New York City Football Club kept up their winning run with a 1-0 victory over Chicago Fire.
Here are Five Points from a Citi Field success.
Clinch The Record
NYCFC went into their meeting with Chicago Fire on a four-game clean sheet streak in MLS. In fact, Kacper Przybylko’s effort was the first on target in three games against NYCFC.
The team have come together to forge an impressive defensive unit with Thiago Martins appearing more settled with each passing week. The consistency shown to keep five straight clean sheets is impressive. Those displays of concentration and focus have helped propel the team up the table and you can guarantee they won’t want this streak to end anytime soon.
“Defensively it was very good,” Deila said. “Everybody was organized and we didn’t give away anything. We produced six or seven big chances and we should have taken more of them than we did, but sometimes it’s like that. As I said, we had to suffer in the end of the game to get the result, but that’s a winning mentality.”
While the first half injury sustained by Gabriel Pereira was unfortunate, to be able to replace him with a player like Talles Magno is a blessing that should not be overlooked.
That same sentiment presented itself In the second half when Ronny Deila made a triple substitution. Being able to replace tired legs with such quality is a testament to the hard work done by the coaching staff and recruitment team, and affords NYCFC the opportunity to push the accelerator down again as games move into the latter stages.
On Sunday it helped their momentum continue in the face of a talented Chicago attack and ultimately helped the team close out a narrow game.
The Brazilian striker earned his third start of the month after games against Sporting KC and Rochester New York FC.
The pressure to deliver in the absence of Taty Castellanos was there, and he set about his task from the opening exchanges. The 30-year-old came close with several half chances before his header earned NYCFC a penalty in the 23rd minute.
To display the composure required is no easy feat. Héber’s assured penalty gave his teammates an early breakthrough and set them on their way to another big result.
While a clean sheet is a collective achievement, Sean Johnson also enjoyed a personal milestone on Sunday.
The goalkeeper, who currently leads MLS for clean sheets, past 30,000 regular season minutes played in Major League Soccer. This comes after he surpassed a similar landmark of 1,000 saves in the MLS regular season.
“I didn’t know that actually, you just kind of get into the flow. But that’s special, elite company,” he said.
Proof if ever was needed of Johnson’s quality and consistency between the posts, any chance to celebrate the Club’s Captain is one we’ll take.
Backed By Science
Ronny Deila touched on the fact afterward that although his side’s margin of victory was narrow on Sunday, it could have been more.
NYCFC averaged 61% of possession across the game, while also producing more shots, and more shots on target than Chicago. By the end of the afternoon NYCFC had an expected goals of 1.9, and when studying the numbers across the season NYCFC sit atop the chart for key passes and expected goals (27.41) in MLS.
Those underlying numbers back up Deila’s claim and give weight to the idea that NYCFC are a strong attacking outfit. The club are only narrowly underperforming their xG and if that gap can close even further it will be a joy for fans to watch.