New York City FC stayed perfect at Yankee Stadium, thanks to an emphatic 3-0 win over Orlando City on Pride Night.
Here’s Five Things we learned from an enjoyable evening’s play in the BX…
Patrick Vieira’s record at Yankee Stadium over the last two season is pretty special.
Since 2017, NYCFC have only been defeated twice in the Bronx in Regular Season play and are now perfect through six home games of 2018, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two.
City’s chances of picking up the full quota of points from this one only looked in doubt briefly, just before Sacha Kljestan’s missed penalty at the start of the second half.
The home team never looked back from there, racking up two more goals to send the Bronx faithful home happy once again.
There’s no place like home.
Isi’s Star Turn
What a signing Tajouri-Shradi is proving to be.
The forward is arguably the league’s most unforgiving forward right now, scoring seven goals from just 12 shots in 2018 (7 from 8 on frame!).
City had missed a host of presentable chances up until the moment Isi took matters into his own hands, shifting inside before delivering an unstoppable left-footed strike over and around Joe Bendik.
Losing a player of Jack Harrison’s quality in the offseason was always going to sting, but Tajouri-Shradi is helping to replace the Englishman’s goals, with a little help from a certain Argentine playmaker…
Yes, Maxi Moralez is piling in with his share of goals too, scoring his sixth of the season with a goal that was both comical and pleasing on the eye.
NYCFC used the crossbar like a backboard for the dagger third goal, with Medina and Villa beating Bendik, but not the bar, twice, before Maxi volleyed under the ‘keeper.
Moralez, Tajouri-Shradi and David Villa have already shared 21 goals between them, so it looks like NYCFC have the goalscoring potential to do very well in the race for the Supporters’ Shield from the early running.
Switching it Up
Judging by Twitter, reporters assembled in the press box spent a good portion of the first 45’ trying to figure out Patrick Vieira’s formation for this one.
The Frenchman is one of the most innovative, thoughtful coaches in the league, as he’s proved with a number of unconventional strategies in recent weeks.
This time, it was something like a 3-2-4-1 to begin with, featuring Jo Inge Berget as the no.9 ahead of Anton Tinnerholm, Maxi Moralez, Jesus Medina and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who were all in attacking, and often interchangeable, roles.
Perhaps it was unsurprising that it took a little time to click but, when it did, after around 20/25 minutes, NYCFC really started to fly, taking the lead on 35’.
Vieira switched back to the more familiar 4-3-3 after the break, but Vieira told reporters after the game that keeping his players engaged by offering new challenges and tweaked roles was important to ensure tactical flexibility over the long course of a season.
It’s been productive experimentation, too – City are six points better off than they were at this stage of last season and have ticked off a disproportionately high number of tough cross-Conference matches already in 2018…
Finally, a shoutout for Alexander Callens who made his 50th appearance for City in all competitions last night.
Alexander had a quiet night with most of the game taking place at the other end of the pitch, but Vieira certainly won’t take his Peruvian warrior for granted.
Callens has been one of the first names on the teamsheet ever since his move in 2017 and he was part of a defense which kept its fourth home clean sheet of the year on Saturday night – a special way to bring up a half-century.
Here’s to 50 more!