New England Revolution Goals: Buksa 9’, Buchanan 119'
New York City FC Goals: Rodríguez 3’, Castellanos 109'
New York City FC were on the road Tuesday night as they traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to face New England Revolution in their Eastern Conference semifinal. City got off to the perfect start when Santiago Rodríguez converted a Tayvon Gray cross after three minutes. Unfortunately, that lead was short-lived as the 9th minute saw Adam Buksa head a Carles Gil freekick in to equalize. An enthralling 90 minutes left the two sides unable to be separated, which forced 30 minutes of extra-time. It would be NYCFC that took the lead in the 109th minute through Castellanos before he was dismissed four minutes later for a second booking. Heading for the next round they would be denied by Tajon Buchanan in the 119th minute, and they forced penalty kicks. After nine penalty kicks the score sat at 4-4, and that allowed Alex Callens to convert the final penalty and send NYCFC through to the Eastern Conference Final.
New York City FC were looking to make their first Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday night as they took on New England Revolution at Gilette Stadium.
Head Coach Ronny Deila named an unchanged side from the one that emerged 2-0 winners against Atlanta United in the last round, and that decision paid early dividends after the team took the lead in the third minute.
The move for the goal started on the left with a throw in before a series of quick passes changed the point of attack to the right. That freed defender Tayvon Gray to center the ball for Santiago Rodríguez to convert from 12 yards out.
A frenetic game showed no signs of slowing down and Roríguez managed to get off a long-range effort not long after.
New England wouldn’t be behind for long, however, with their equalizer coming from a Carles Gil freekick that Adam Buksa headed home.
The 21st minute almost saw NYCFC go back into the lead when a well-worked freekick found Rodríguez free at the back post – but a last-ditch interception denied Jesús Medina the chance to tap home from close range.
Both sides were now fighting for the game’s third goal and that allowed for a tense affair. When things did settle the 35th minute allowed Maxi Moralez and Taty Castellanos to combine for the latter to get off a strike from distance that didn't trouble Matt Turner.
The first half proved a bruising encounter for NYCFC and that kept the referee busy in the middle of the field.
The first half finished with another good opportunity for Rodríguez at the top of the box. The chance was facilitated by a calm touch and short pass from Medina, but unfortunately, the effort ended up missing the target.
A fast start was the tale of the second half as well with NYCFC creating good chances in the opposition half. Oftentimes it was Rodríguez that the ball dropped to, but the Uruguayan was unable to add his second of the game.
NYCFC were ramping up the pressure and after Medina was denied a one-on-one attempt by a fantastic last-ditch tackle it was the turn of Moralez to crash a header against the post in the 63rd minute.
At the other end, a DeJuan Jones cross found Gustavo Bou at the top of the box. His effort was low and hard and forced a great save from Sean Johnson with the Club's captain smothering the ball right after.
The pace of the game refused to relent as the clock ticked towards the final ten minutes of regular time and an 81st-minute corner from Moralez gave NYCFC a look at goal, but New England cleared their lines.
That would also spell the last involvement for James Sands. The talented Homegrown had put in a monumental shift, but injury forced him off to be replaced by Tony Rocha in the 82nd minute.
NYCFC weren't done testing their hosts, however, and in the 86th minute an overload down the right allowed Gray in behind but he failed to put his effort on frame. That was followed by a smart chipped ball from Rodríguez free at the back post, but he could not bring it under his spell.
The game finished tied at 1-1, and that forced another 30 minutes of extra time on both sides, with NYCFC believing they could emerge victorious. The first period of extra-time started with NYCFC looking to exploit the width of the field, with the tireless Malte Amundsen stretching the Revs.
Sensing a need for change, Deila turned to his bench for the second time in the 101st minute to introduce Thiago Andrade and Gudi Thórarinsson in place of Medina and Amundsen.
A cagey affair broke out in the second half with both sides nervous of giving up their advantage. Then in the 109th minute a delightful clipped cross to the back post by Thórarinsson allowed Castellanos to crash a header home past Turner.
Unfortunately, Castellanos would see his night turn from ecstasy to agony after he was handed a second yellow card for a foul in the 113th minute.
The hosts would then earn a dramatic equalizer in the 119th minute after a deep cross found Tajon Buchanan at the back post to volley home. The hosts almost took the lead deep into injury time when Buksa burst through but a fantastic save by Johnson denied him.
Neither side could find a fifth and final goal and that forced penalty kicks upon the contest. After nine spot kicks it fell to Alex Callens to score the team's fifth and final kick, which he did, and confirmed NYCFC's place in the Eastern Conference Final.
Heineken Man of the Match
How We Lined Up
Next up for New York City FC is the Eastern Conference Final against Philadelphia Union on Sunday, December 5, 2021. The game will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN Deportes (YES Network/NYCFC.com/Radio).