NYCFC Goals: Harrison 85mins
Sporting KC Goals:
A Quick Look
Those who braved the torrential rain were rewarded with more late drama at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night…
Following a thrilling late show against New England in our last home game, this time Jack Harrison came up with the goods in the 85th minute to give NYC a first-ever win over Sporting KC.
It had looked like being a night of frustration for Patrick Vieira’s side who had dominated without any reward on the scoreboard until Harrison volleyed in the game-winner to extend NYCFC’s unbeaten run to five games.
That leaves the Boys in Blue in second place in the Eastern Conference, six points clear of Chicago Fire, with a 15-7-5 record through 27 games.
Not since Orlando City’s win at Yankee Stadium in April had the Boys in Blue tasted defeat on home soil but, without nine regular first-team players and facing off against one of the Western Conference’s finest, this promised to be one of the toughest tests of the season so far.
In the absence of Villa, McNamara captained the side and the skipper very nearly gave his side the lead on 8’ when he was teed up by Jack Harrison but his shot was dragged just wide of the target.
Five minutes later, NYCFC went close again and it was Harrison who was the architect once more, touching a corner back across the face of goal for Frederic Brillant but the Frenchman's header just flew the wrong side of the near post.
A spirited start from a patched-up home team which did wonders for the confidence of those gathered on a saturated NYC night.
The following 15’ were centered around the midfield battleground with possession changing hands at regular intervals as neither side were able to seize the initiative and dictate terms.
Although the opening half was short on chances, Andrea Pirlo did have the opportunity to put on a total clinic on spreading the play and it was from this source that NYCFC went close again on 32’.
The Italian rode a challenge before playing it out wide to Jonathan Lewis who burned his marker and drilled in a teasing cross for Okoli who was only a meter away from connecting.
Two minutes later, Christian Lobato fired in a warning shot from range which had Sean Johnson momentarily panicked, before a Pirlo free-kick found the SKC defensive wall and Maxi Moralez was denied by Tim Melia when he shot from close range in the closing seconds of the half.
There was to be no breakthrough before the interval but the first 45’ had delivered an intriguing encounter, foreshadowing a second half which would surely be even more so, with the points there for the taking for one of these two teams with MLS Cup ambitions…
Roger Espinoza tested Johnson with a piledriver in the first 60 seconds of the second period but on 54’, Vieira’s men were a lick of paint away from seizing the advantage.
RJ Allen put in work on the overlap before whipping in an excellent cross for Okoli who did everything right, sidefooting the ball towards goal but it came back off the outside of the post with the goalkeeper beaten all ends up.
It was a let-off for SKC and there was another one in short order as somehow second half substitute Khiry Shelton and Okoli both missed a Maxi Moralez cross from under the crossbar with the goal gaping.
That could easily have been the enduring memory of the night, if Harrison had not come up big with the game-winner in the dying minutes.
It was a brilliant finish from the Englishmen as he seized upon the loose ball following more excellent work from Allen, taking a touch and volleying clinically past Melia to send Yankee Stadium into raptures.
That was enough for the three points which puts NYC well in charge of their own destiny in the MLS Playoffs race.
No further words necessary...
Man of the Match
On his return to the lineup, the maestro did what the maestro does.
From the base of midfield, Pirlo stroked the ball around beautifully and brought NYC’s wide players into the game with intelligent forward passes which had KC on the back foot.
He showed the other side of his game too, winning the ball back with timely interceptions and sliding in to make tackles on the slick surface.
Social Post of the Game
Stats and Milestones
- NYCFC now have a 15-7-5 record through 27 games.
- James Sands was named to a matchday squad for the first time since becoming NYCFC's first Homegrown Player
- Jack Harrison scored his ninth goal of the season
- NYCFC defeated Sporting KC for the first time in club history (W1 L2)
- Vieira's men move six points clear of Chicago and hold second place in the Conference.
- NYCFC are now unbeaten in ten games at Yankee Stadium (W8 D2)
How They Lined Up
Patrick Vieira made five changes to the lineup which tied 1-1 at Red Bull Arena, bringing in Allen, McNamara, Pirlo, Lewis and Okoli.
The game came too soon for new signing Andraz Struna who still awaits his P1 Visa.
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Allen, Brillant, Callens, Sweat, Pirlo, McNamara (C), Moralez, Lewis, Harrison, Villa
NYCFC Subs: Johansen, Rawls, Sands, Awuah, Stertzer, Shelton
NYCFC are back at it at Yankee Stadium on Saturday when Portland Timbers are the visitors as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Night. Get your tickets below...