It was by no means a perfect match for Patrick Vieira's side on a rainy Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, but as they often do, New York City got the job done anyway.
The chances came thick and fast for City, who managed to dominate in possession and attacking opportunities despite missing nine first team players due to injuries, suspensions, and international duty.
"I want to give credit to the whole team tonight," said Vieira. "Because the players didn't give up. They always tried to play forward and tried to score the goals, and they managed to do it at the end."
That has, for the most part, been the story of NYCFC's season to this point: Even when things don't go according to plan, they find a way to dig out a result. That kind of industry is the product of hard work and belief. It's the kind of belief that keeps a team moving forward even when it seems like the goal has a lid over it.
Even goalscorer Jack Harrison, who didn't have a perfect night—as Vieira would point out—was able to capitalize on his opportunities and help City win the match.
"I don't think that was his best game," Vieira told reporters at the press conference after NYCFC's victory. "I think he made a lot of mistakes in the last 30 yards, I think his decision making was not the best today.
"But of course, when you've got talent, you can open the game at any time. So I was really pleased that he scored the goals."
The talent on display tonight didn't just come from Harrison, either. Constantly pushing the team forward were two midfielders filling in for a rash of injuries, international absences, and suspensions. Tommy McNamara, who captained the side, and Andrea Pirlo pulled the strings for New York City, controlling the center of the park and creating chances for the forwards.
It was a nearly seamless switch from the normal triumvirate, and Patrick Vieira wasn't surprised.
"I think both of them were fantastic," the gaffer told reporters. "Both of them played really well, worked really hard. They were really smart with the way that they defended and I want to give them a lot of credit, because it's not easy when you don't play and then you come into a game like that and perform the way they did today.
"In the end, I'm not surprised because you have to see how those players work during the week, and they just play the way they've been working this week. That's something that makes me really proud as a coach."
"He looked solid," said Vieira of Ugo. "He showed that he can play at this level, and he showed me that he's somebody I need to count on a little bit more for the rest of the season.
"I was really happy with the way he sacrificed for the team, the way he worked for the team."