New York City FC recorded a 1-1 result against Toronto FC on Saturday. That kept them atop the Eastern Conference with eight points from their first five games.
Here’s Five Points from the draw with TFC, presented by Etihad Airways…
Andres Jasson is continuing to make strides in the first-team, and enjoyed another start on Saturday against Toronto FC.
This time, however, he was deployed as a wing-back, and that meant far greater defensive responsibility than against Orlando City.
Jasson said afterwards he has played that role several times while with the academy, but it’s unlikely those appearances saw him come up against a player with the quality of Yeferson Soteldo.
“I think he did good. He’s a very intelligent boy,” Ronny Deila said after the game. “He has skills to play different positions. I think he handled that situation really good. He has a really good player against him. I think overall he did it in a good way and he’s still very young. It's good to see that we have different options.”
TFC’s new Designated Player, was a consistent threat down the left-hand side, but Jasson did well up against him even though he was beaten several times (something he acknowledged in his post-game interview).
The teenager was diligent with his defensive work and stopped Soteldo from making a major impact on the game.
The fact Jasson was willing to step in and help the team out not only reflects well on his character, but also speaks to the kind of mentality this group has. He’s not quite the Coney Island Cafu yet, but this was a solid start.
Fox in the Box
If you speak to some the best goal scorers in soccer they will tell you that not every run into space is rewarded, but if you consistently gamble on the ball arriving you will eventually find success. That’s how Jesus Medina secured his fourth goal of the season in just five games.
Medina's latest goal puts him two away from his best ever regular-season return with NYCFC. No one will argue that Medina has started this season brightly, and what stands out about his early form is the variety of his goals.
He has scored from range, by finding space in a crowded penalty area, by timing a run into the box, and most recently by gambling on an opportunity for a rebound when everyone else had stopped.
A lot has been said this season about Medina’s industry off the ball, but it’s just as important –if not more so– that he produces in the final third. More often than not the best attacking play on Saturday involved Medina, and he was rightly handed the Man of the Match award.
A Controversial Equalizer
New York City FC Head Coach Ronny Deila pulled no punches when it came to his assessment of the officials on Saturday.
“We get 1-0 up, and I think we controlled it for 90 minutes, but then of course we get robbed by the ref that’s for sure,” he said. “I can't understand it. The one positive is that he's humble. He said he made a mistake.”
NYCFC had good reason to be frustrated, especially with TFC’s equalizing goal. A long ball up the field was knocked down by Dom Dwyer into the path of Patrick Mullins. Dwyer then runs arm first into James Sands and bowls him over.
In simple terms; it’s a foul. While you can take nothing away from the finish by Jacob Shaffelburg, it doesn’t change the fact that the play should have been halted.
A quick glance of the xG (2.1 for NYCFC to 0.6 for TFC) suggests the Boys in Blue were hard done by on Saturday. The hope now is that fortune smiles on them in the coming weeks.
Shuffle the Pack
Saturday’s game was a significant test of character for NYCFC. City were already without the services of Maxi Moralez and Anton Tinnerholm, and then they lost Alex Callens to injury after just 13 minutes.
An injury to Maxime Chanot in the second half further stretched the squad and required Deila to shuffle his pack and add Vuk Latinovich to the back line.
The team adapted to the situation, however, and did well to stem a late surge from TFC following their equalizer.
Time to Step Up
NYCFC have two tough fixtures against the Columbus SC and LAFC before the international break.
The spate of injuries the team has suffered is a disappointment, but within struggle hides opportunity. Ronny Deila will now turn to players deeper in the squad to fill the spots left by those injured players.
The adaptability of someone like Andres Jasson is a plus, while Tayvon Gray may hope he can challenge for a spot at centre-back.
The friendly competition among the NYCFC squad has been a central tenant behind their strong start to the season and that will now be tested in the coming weeks.
New York City FC are back in action against the Columbus SC at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, May 22nd with kickoff taking place at 7:30 PM ET (YES Network/NYCFC.com/Radio).