Minnesota United Goals:
New York City Football Club Goals: Callens 29'
New York City Football Club were in the Twin Cities on Saturday aiming for a good result against Minnesota United. They took a step toward that goal in the first half thanks to an Alex Callens header from a corner in the 29th minute. That was enough to seal a big three points for the Boys in Blue as they went for an 8th game unbeaten.
New York City Football Club knew anything but a defeat at Allianz Field would stretch their unbeaten run to 8 games in MLS.
Head Coach Ronny Deila rang the changes after NYCFC’s midweek success in the Open Cup against New England Revolution, with eight players from that night dropping out of the starting XI.
Minnesota United were on the hunt for a big three points at home, and they had a great opportunity to take the lead inside four minutes.
It came after a low cross found its way to Franco Fragapane, but his low effort from close range was brilliantly saved by Sean Johnson.
In the 19th minute, the Boys in Blue were forced into a first change of the evening after Chris Gloster suffered an unfortunate injury. Malte Amundsen entering the game in his place.
From there NYCFC almost took the lead two minutes later after some patient play allowed Santiago Rodríguez to swing a cross to the back post for Taty Castellanos, but he mistimed his effort and it went wide of the post.
The visitors were now beginning to turn the screw, and a well-worked corner routine saw Amundsen hang the ball to the back post - Castellanos forcing a save from Dayne St. Clair after driving an effort into the ground.
NYCFC's pressure finally just before the half-hour mark when another dangerous set-piece allowed Alex Callens to rise highest and power a header past St.Clair and into the goal.
The goal appeared to spark the hosts into life and they rattled Johnson's bar in the 35th minute. The chance came from an Emmanuel Reynoso corner that saw Brent Kallman head it against the frame
Castellanos was still proving a threat in the final third and just before halftime he connected with a delightful chipped pass from Maxi Moralez to head just past the right post.
The second half began with a sustained period of pressure from Minnesota as they sought a route back into the back, and that forced Thiago Martins and Callens to make some vital interceptions early on.
The Loons did have the ball in the net from a set piece in the 52nd minute, but the play was quickly flagged offside by the assistant referee.
NYCFC summoned an impressive response in the 57th minute when Talles Magno found himself space and wrapped his foot around the ball only for the crossbar to deny him a memorable strike.
That was followed up with a great chance for Rodríguez five minutes later after some brilliant work from Castellanos saw him fire a cross toward the back post - the Uruguyan's effort failing to hit the target.
The 67th minute saw Deila turn to his bench for the second time as Keaton Parks and Maxi Moralez dropped out of the game in place of Tayvon Gray and Thiago Andrade.
Andrade almost made an instant impact after springing the Minnesota offside trap to get 1v1 against St.Clair. The Brazilian did his best to get the ball past the goalkeeper, but to his credit, St. Clair stood tall and diverted it wide for a corner.
The Brazilian's pace on the counter was proving a consistent threat behind the Minnesota defence, but his work on the defensive side of the ball was proving just as important as he helped contain the Minnesota left side.
NYCFC's final subs of the contest arrived in the 89th minute with Héber and Andres Jasson entering the field for Talles Magno and Rodríguez.
Minnesota were still desperate for a goal and Emmanuel Reynoso almost found it with a shot from distance that Johnson fantastically tipped away before Robin Lod's follow up was also brilliantly turned over by the shot-stopper.
In the end, Johnson's heroics and Callens header would ultimately prove enough and hand NYCFC a memorable 1-0 win on the road at Allianz Field.
Player of the Match
How We Lined Up
Next up for New York City Football Club is an MLS matchup against Colorado Rapids on Sunday, June 19. Kickoff at Yankee Stadium is set for 5:00PM EST (YES Network/NYCFC.com/Radio).