Five Things: New York is Blue

Maxi Moralez scored the 85th minute winning goal for New York City FC in a 1-0 home win over the Red Bulls on Sunday night.

Here’s Mark Booth with Five Things we learned from an epic late show at Yankee Stadium…

Late Show

It was a night for patience in the BX as a tough, attritional game played out under the lights.

There were chances for both sides to grab the winning goal littered throughout the 90’ but the 30k present inside the stadium had to wait until the last 5’ for the goal which secured the points.

Maxi Moralez was the man who got it, ghosting into the penalty box at the crucial moment to turn in a Jonathan Lewis pass and send the Supporters’ Section into raptures.

Following a couple of tough trips to New Jersey in 2018, this was the perfect tonic and the decibel level reflected the joy at getting one over on our local rivals in thrilling fashion.

That made it three successive home wins in this Hudson River Derby series and restored local pride until August when the sides meet for the final time in the Regular Season, again at Yankee Stadium.

We go again.

Dome’s Derby Delight

This was Domènec Torrent’s first taste of the Hudson River Derby and he’s one for one.

The new NYCFC Head Coach is a veteran of El Clasico showdowns between Real Madrid and Barcelona, FC Bayern v Dortmund matches and Manchester derbies, so he knows just how important these derby games are for the fans and for the players.

Dome challenged his players to fight for every single ball if they wanted to take the bragging rights and that's just what they did, as well as winning the possession battle and doing a great job of beating the famed, ferocious Red Bulls’ press.

Torrent had clearly done his homework on the visitors, with Sean Johnson hitting rare dropkicks, rather than playing short, and the full-backs looking for diagonals over the top to reduce the threat posed by our cross-river antagonists.

The fact that City’s winning goal came from Lewis pressing Aaron Long will surely not have been lost on Torrent either…

Clutch Goal, Clutch Player

This was Maxi’s seventh goal of the season, bettering his return from the whole of 2017 with half the season still to come.

The Argentine was fielded in an unfamiliar false 9 position in the absence of the injured duo David Villa and Jo Inge Berget and he acquitted himself brilliantly on the night, recycling possession and bringing his fellow forwards into the game on countless occasions.

While his finish was the easiest of the seven goals he’s netted this term, he still showed his predatory instincts (and fitness) to get there so late in the game and to read Lewis’s intentions with his press and cross.

A clutch goal from a clutch player.

Instant Impact

We also have to make further mention of Lewis’s role in the goal.

The youngster has had to be patient for his opportunities since joining in the 2017 SuperDraft but he tends to make his chances count, even in late cameos from the bench.

This time, Lewis was straight into the action, almost creating the winner for Jesus Medina with an inspired flick at the top of the box with his first touch.

It was his pace and work rate which created the eventual winner as Lewis pickpocketed Aaron Long and made the unselfish pass to Moralez who was left with the simplest of finishes, thanks to one of the youngest members of the squad.

Another pleasing night’s work for J-Lew, who continues to win new admirers among the City faithful…

Two More

So that was the first of three Bronx battles this week, with Montreal Impact and Columbus Crew SC still to visit Yankee Stadium before next weekend is through.

This was the perfect way to start what could be a decisive week in the Regular Season shakeup as Torrent knows nine points from nine in this three-game home run will put City in a commanding position for an MLS Playoffs berth.

See you on Wednesday for the next episode…

Five Things: New York is Blue -