NYCFC Goals: Berget 51' & 68'
Toronto Goals: Vasquez 37'
The Domènec Torrent era got off to the perfect start on Sunday evening as NYCFC defeated the defending MLS champions Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium.
Coming from behind, Jo Inge Berget scored his second and third goals for the club in the second half to clinch all three points and send 23,930 City fans home happy after the long international break.
That kept the Boys in Blue undefeated at home for 2018 (P8 W7 D1).
Domènec Torrent had only led one brief training session before taking charge of his first game as NYCFC boss.
Flying in late on Friday, the Catalan assumed responsibility immediately, setting about preparing his new charges for their return from the MLS international break.
For his first match, Domè could hardly have asked for a tougher task, as the Boys in Blue faced off against the defending champions and he named an identical XI to the one which took on Atlanta 14 days earlier.
Sticking with the team that deserved so much more than a point on that occasion, Torrent was almost rewarded with just five minutes on the clock as Alex Ring took aim from the corner of the penalty box but his ferocious drive was always rising over the bar.
After Maxi Moralez and David Villa both went close for the home side, Jonathan Osorio reminded everyone of the visitors' threat when he hit the crossbar on 20'.
Seven minutes later, Villa limped off the field with a suspected knee injury and Victor Vasquez seized the initiative in short order, lobbing over the onrushing Sean Johnson to give the Reds the lead against the run of play.
It was a bitter blow but City rallied and, on either side of the halftime interval, threatened Alex Bono's goal on multiple occasions, flying forward in breathless waves of pressure, camping out on the edge of the penalty box, overlapping and interchanging positions frequently.
Toronto were rattled and were punished after the ball pinballed around the box on 51', eventually falling to Jo Inge Berget who coolly backheeled through a defender's legs and over the line.
City did not stop there, continuing to push for the go-ahead goal which finally came on 68' through the impressive Berget.
This time, the Norwegian raced onto an inch-perfect through ball from Moralez and lashed it past Bono clinically to make it 2-1.
Despite further opportunities to extend that lead (and one fine late save from Johnson), that was how it stayed, giving NYCFC the perfect start to life under their new boss.
Berget showed a penalty box predator's instinct to turn the equalizing goal past the last defender and Bono.
Scoring his second and third goals for the club, Jo will be hungry for more in the coming weeks, especially if VIlla ends up missing games with the injury sustained here.
NYCFC.com Star of the Game
Jo Inge Berget
It has to be the Norwegian striker who acquitted himself brilliantly, stepping up to take on goalscoring duties after Villa exited prematurely.
His first goal was nonchalance itself, as Jo backheeled into the empty net, before he popped up again to score the winner with an emphatic thrash past Bono.
The perfect no.9's performance.
Social Post of the Match…
Stats and Milestones
- Domènec Torrent took charge of NYCFC for the first time
- Jo Inge Berget scored his second and third goals for the club
- City stayed undefeated at home through eight games (W7 D1)
- NYCFC's all-time record vs. Toronto FC now stands at P8 W3 L1 D4 in Regular Season play
How they lined up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Callens, Ibeagha, Ring, Sweat, Tinnerholm, Ofori, Moralez (Lewis 88'), Berget, Tajouri-Shradi (McNamara 90+3'), Villa (C) (Medina 27')
SUBS: Stuver, Chanot, Abdul-Salaam, Awuah, McNamara, Lewis
NYCFC are next in action on Saturday on the road at Chicago Fire and we return home July 8 for Hudson River Derby vol.2... Get your tickets at NYCFC.com/Tickets