New York City FC gained another point on the road courtesy of a 1-1 tie with Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
Managing Editor Mark Booth learned some things – five things, to be precise – and here they are in no particular order…
Over to Confucius for some oft-touted wisdom… “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Maxi Moralez may have been culpable for the opening goal of the night scored by the home team but he certainly atoned in some style.
If the Argentine could have his time again, he certainly would have booted the ball as far away from Sean Johnson’s goal before Matt Polster could force the turnover and tee up Nemanja Nikolic in the process, but he didn’t dwell on his mistake for long.
Instead, Moralez did what Moralez does and played an instrumental role in setting up the equalizer, providing the sublime service for David Villa’s equalizer just before the break.
It was a stunning chipped pass that few players would have seen, let alone pulled off, and it was a credit to a man who might be small in stature, but is as big as anyone when it comes to heart and technical quality.
As You Were
It was an intense, hard-fought encounter befitting of a late-season meeting between two teams with plenty left to fight for in 2017 but we’re really no closer to discovering who earn the second bye to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
On a night which could have been decisive in setting the MLS Playoffs picture in the East, the three contenders to join Toronto in the Conference semifinals all tied, leaving everything still TBD.
Atlanta United still have their destiny in their own hands following their 0-0 draw with New England, while NYCFC will be hoping for favors from one of Minnesota United, Red Bulls and Toronto who all face our closest rivals for that second seeding.
It’s going to be an exciting end to the 2017 Regular Season, that’s for sure.
When David took down Maxi’s defense-splitting pass, the final outcome was never in question.
Rounding Matt Lampson and slotting clinically home, David cut Nemanja Nikolic’s Golden Boot lead to just one goal and pulled El Guaje level with Diego Valeri on 20 for the season.
In doing so, David became the first player to ever score 20+ goals in back-to-back seasons in the history of the league.
Like the race for the second seeding in the East, it seems that the Golden Boot battle is going to go all the way to Decision Day which just gives us another exciting storyline to follow in the weeks to come.
Solid as a Rock
Although Patrick Vieira will be concerned that his team haven’t scored more than one goal since the end of August, he will be satisfied with the solidity at the other end of the field.
On Johnson’s first return to Chicago as an NYCFC player, he was largely untested due to a stoic, well-organized performance from the men in front of him.
We’re getting accustomed to this, too… it’s now nine games since the Boys in Blue gave up more than one goal and in our last five road games we’ve conceded just two, going unbeaten through that run of matches.
The whole team contributes to this stat but let’s just doff our caps to Frederic Brillant and Alexander Callens for a moment – the pair have really come to the fore in recent weeks and look just about as reliable as any central defensive pairing in the league right now.
A Final Pause
International soccer is great and all but it seems cruel to pull away from the domestic game now when it’s really coming to the boil.
We have to wait two weeks now for the next installment of our quest to clinch the second seeding but at least there’s an opportunity to recharge batteries following this tough run of back-to-back road games.
By the time New England comes around on October 15, we should be ready to go again to ensure the smoothest passage possible through to the postseason.
In the meantime, let’s get behind our clutch of internationals (and keep fingers crossed that they all return healthy) as they set off across the globe with important FIFA World Cup qualifiers on deck.