New York City FC kept up their unbeaten start to the 2018 MLS season on Saturday night with a 2-1 win at San Jose Earthquakes.
Here’s Five Things Managing Editor Mark Booth learned from the win…
How many times has this team picked itself up off the canvas to earn points over the last couple of years?
Whether chasing back after conceding a goal against the run of play, or just escaping with something from a rare off day, this team’s powers of recovery are remarkable.
This latest thrilling fightback was somewhere between the two as NYCFC dominated the middle hour of the game and hustled hard at the start and end.
You can see Head Coach Patrick Vieira’s fingerprints all over this side in his third year in the dugout – a team that embodies the characteristics which made the Frenchman such a legendary competitor in his playing days.
The Boys in Blue have now recovered 34 points from losing positions during Vieira’s tenure and that is too large of a number to be any kind of coincidence.
To make matters worse, Vieira lost his captain David Villa after the warm-ups, dealing him the latest of curve balls.
Jo Inge Berget stepped into a difficult breach and battled hard throughout his 69’ on the field, both as a no.9 as a winger in the second half.
Saad Abdul-Salaam continued to show well at right-back, his athleticism and the timing of his runs offering an overload on many occasions, while Ebenezer Ofori showed his combative dynamism at the base of the midfield.
All in all, another afternoon we come away from an NYCFC game excited by the depth of this squad.
For all of the quality on show at the other end of the field, we wouldn’t be departing home for New York with three points in tow without our goalkeeper.
Bringing his famous night at the StubHub Center to mind, Sean Johnson made a string of stunning saves down the home stretch to preserve his team’s narrow advantage.
Featuring one stunning claw out from a back post header, it was a clinic in razor sharp reflexes and agility as Sean leapt to his side's rescue time and time again.
TinnerBOOM: Part 2
Everywhere you looked Swedish players were scoring spectacular volleys in California on Saturday.
Even the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have approved of the technique on Anton Tinnerholm’s booming equalizer, which came directly from Moralez’s corner.
In Anton's words: “I was inspired by Zlatan - I think my goal was harder. That’s how we do it in Sweden”
Tinnerholm’s explosive hit probably would have been the MLS goal of the weekend… on any other weekend…
This 11-day break from MLS action arrives at a timely juncture for NYCFC, allowing Vieira to get some of his key pieces back for an important stretch in the season.
RSL and Atlanta are coming up fast after this little interval which will give City a chance to take a breath, to briefly reflect on a highly satisfying opening to Season 4 and plot our next moves.
On we go.