New York City Football Club Goals: Fernández 64'
Chicago Fire Goals:
New York City Football Club recorded a 1-0 win on Decision Day against Chicago Fire. The first half saw few chances for either side and forced the two teams to go in tied at the break. The deadlock was broken in the 64th minute when Julián Fernández produced a fantastic curled effort to beat Chris Brady in the Chicago goal. That spectacular strike would be enough to see NYCFC finish the season with a win.
The World's Borough hosted NYCFC's Decision Day clash with Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
The Boys in Blue knew a win was essential if they stood any chance of making the playoffs and the same was true of the Chicago Fire, with both teams requiring results elsewhere to go their way.
Nick Cushing made two changes to the team that took on D.C. United last time out with Julián Fernández and Keaton Parks replacing Andrés Perea and Andres Jasson.
A tense and tight contest saw little in the way of clear-cut chances early on. In the 16th minute, Fabian Herbers unleashed a drive inside the area that Matt Freese did well to parry.
At the other end, a well-timed run by Kevin O'Toole allowed him to fire a low cross that Talles Magno tried to turn toward goal - his attempt missing the target.
In the 25th minute, a delightful run from Fernández almost resulted in the opening goal of the game. The Argentine skipped by his opponent on the outside before flashing a pass across goal that only narrowly missed the foot of Santiago Rodríguez.
Xherdan Shaqiri was proving a dangerous outlet for the Fire and he would test Freese with a freekick on the half-hour mark. His whipped effort was well saved by the NYCFC shot-stopper, however.
As the half neared its conclusion there was time for Talles Magno to cause havoc in the Chicago penalty box. His twisting and turning generated enough space to curl a low shot that Chris Brady did well to palm away before it was cleared.
There were no changes for either side at halftime as both teams continued to search for the opening goal of the game.
An early corner for Chicago allowed Shaqiri to deliver a cross. His set piece found Carlos Terán in space but his powerful header bounced down into the ground and over Freese's bar.
NYCFC would earn their own set-piece opportunity in the 59th minute as Rodríguez delivered a cross for Thiago Martins to head toward goal - his attempt only narrowly missing the target.
Cushing would introduce his first changes on the hour mark as Parks and Tayvon Gray were replaced by Perea and Mitja Ilenič.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 64th minute after Rodríguez fired a precise pass inside to find Fernández in space 25 yards from goal. The Argentine wasted no time getting a shot off, and his delightful curled effort flew into the net to give NYCFC the lead.
The Boys in Blue were now chasing a second goal and came close after Kevin O'Toole's low cross skipped across the Chicago penalty area.
The Fire were still proving a threat on the break. A well-timed run from Bian Gutiérrez saw him ghost into the area and connect with a header, but it was comfortably caught by Freese.
In the 84th minute, Andres Jasson entered the game in place of the goalscorer Fernández.
Both teams were pushing to secure the important second goal of the game and that caused the contest to be stretched.
Midway into injury time a breakaway allowed Talles Magno to fire off a shot that took a deflection and bounced away from goal.
That would be the final act of the contest and confirmed a 1-0 win for NYCFC on Decision Day. Unfortunately, results elsewhere did not allow NYCFC to secure a playoff spot.
How We Lined Up
This concludes NYCFC's MLS Regular Season commitments. Check back to NYCFC.com for more information on the 2024 campaign.