New York City FC stayed unbeaten for 2018 thanks to a 4-0 win under the Yankee Stadium lights over Real Salt Lake.
Here are Five Things we learned on another special night for the Boys in Blue…
You’d be hard pushed to come up with a more dominant win served up by NYCFC in four years of MLS play.
From start to finish, City had RSL right where they wanted them as they produced a clinic in attacking, authoritative, possession-based soccer.
Following his nine-save brickwall impression vs. San Jose, Sean Johnson enjoyed a very different kind of night this time around, only being required on a couple of occasions at the start of each half to make timely stops.
As soon as Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s perfectly-placed opener got City cooking on 11', the home team never looked likely to let it slide and they were good value for three more goals which were piled in before this night was through.
Ahead of Sunday’s meeting between the Eastern Conference’s two early pacesetters, this was the perfect way to kick off a big two-game week.
It feels like we’ve been reflecting on NYCFC’s depth chart after each game this season but it’d be remiss not to mention it again after this one.
Alex Ring and David Villa were arguably City’s two most consistent performers in 2017 but Patrick Vieira’s men have got quality throughout the squad to absorb those big absentees and come away from games with all three points.
The sight of both players being introduced with 30 minutes to go, with the game won at 3-0, was a pleasing demonstration of the strength in depth Vieira has at his disposal in 2018.
Fear the Beard
Speaking of strength in depth, David’s replacement Jo Inge Berget notched his first goal on his home debut with a clinical finish after a devastatingly incisive move conjured up by Ronald Matarrita and Jesus Medina.
The Norwegian striker has been unfortunate with injuries since joining on a free transfer in the offseason but now his troubles appear to be in the rearview mirror, he’ll be hoping for more opportunities to shine in his new home.
Vieira was pleased with what he saw, too...
The Frenchman told reporters: “I was really pleased for Jo – he’s been really unlucky with injuries since he joined. Even if he’s not 100% fit, I like the way he’s working for the team, thinking about the collective before himself. He deserved his goal.”
It was one of those nights where it was tough to pick out just one star player but, if pushed, you’d have to go with Maxi Moralez.
The Argentine playmaker enjoyed an impressive debut season in MLS but he’s stepped it up again in year two, producing quality goals and assists seemingly every time he steps up onto the scene.
For the second game in succession, Maxi both scored and assisted a goal, a feat which he has achieved on three occasions now in an NYCFC shirt.
It looks as though Moralez and Medina were made for each other on this early evidence too, as the pair left RSL defenders chasing shadows with their intuitive one-touch interplay and rehearsed movements.
The South American connection is strong…
This victory also brought an end to a wholly unwanted record.
Real Salt Lake were the final team in MLS that NYCFC had played but had never taken points from before - until this resounding win…
LAFC aside, FC Dallas are the only team the Boys in Blue have never defeated but they’re up next for Vieira’s men in the Bronx following trips to Atlanta and Portland.
Let’s keep it going.