New York City FC showed their resolve to hold New England Revolution to a 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon.
Here’s five things Managing Editor Mark Booth learned from our fourth MLS encounter.
READ:Match Recap – New England 2-2 NYCFC
On the eve of the game, Patrick Vieira warned that this would be one of the toughest assignments his team would face in 2018 and so it felt.
The Revs had won eight of their previous nine games at Gillette Stadium and it was easy to see why when they got in City’s faces from the first whistle and kept the Boys in Blue penned in for the opening quarter of the game.
Getting in at the break 1-0 down was just about right on the balance of play but it was a different NYCFC which emerged after the interval.
Using the opportunity to fine tune small details on the field, Vieira sent out his charges to get back into the game and that’s just what they did, levelling up twice through the clinical Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and holding on for what could be an important point at season’s end.
There were still the moments of beauty we’ve enjoyed through our perfect start but this was a game that tested mentality and resilience – happily, NYCFC passed the test and emerge through unbowed by any of the four foes faced.
NYCFC got through this one missing three of the players who started the opening two games of the season.
With Alex Ring and David Villa nursing injuries, and Rodney Wallace away with Costa Rica, this was a chance for Vieira to wield the depth available to him in the squad.
Tajouri-Shradi may have retained his place regardless after his goalscoring heroics vs. Orlando, but for Jo Inge Berget and Ebenezer Ofori, this was a first opportunity to impress.
While Berget only got one clear sight of goal in the 90’ he battled tirelessly and held up play on numerous occasions to help relieve pressure on the defense.
Ofori grew into the game to great effect and was an important dynamo in the second half recovery staged by the road team.
Two starts, three shots, three goals. What a start to life at NYCFC for our Isi.
Don’t let the nonchalant sidefooted first goal fool you, that was a strike that took nerve as the Swiss-born forward got into position, put his head over the ball and placed it unerringly beyond the goalkeeper’s grasp.
The second needs no big billing: an unsaveable rocket provided to Isi by Yangel Herrera’s brilliantly incisive pass.
From his first session with his new team you could see that the former Austria Wien player had a knack for finishing – now he’s translating this eye for goal onto the stadium fields will delight his coaches and new fans alike.
What a Goal
30-yard piledrivers and spectacular volleys tend to dominate the conversation when it comes to recognizing great goals, but NYCFC’s first equalizer was the kind that smiling coaches daydream through the week on.
In its final movements, it was a move that closely resembled Maxi Moralez’s strike vs. Orlando last weekend but there was more to this one.
Revolution boss Brad Friedel spoke of limiting Maxi’s touches as a key component in the hosts’ gameplan and it was an effective tactic in the first half – however, the Argentine got himself on the ball far more after the interval, decisively.
It was his pass that set the move into motion and caught out the home backline for the first time, before Jesus Medina, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Tajouri-Shradi snapped the trap shut with another beautiful triangle to net.
Again, devastating stuff from the Boys in Blue.
The Ringleader Update
One note from the pre-match was news that Alex Ring faces four weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury sustained on international duty.
The midfielder with the most interceptions (13) in MLS going into week four of the season, it’s undoubtedly a blow to lose such an important player for any spell.
However, it definitely could have happened at a worse time, considering that there’s an 11-day break between next Saturday’s game vs. San Jose Earthquakes and our home game vs. RSL.
There’s was also no lack of fight on display in Foxborough on Saturday, even without the brilliant, combative Finn, who would have been watching on approvingly.