This past weekend's match against Chicago produced its fair share of storylines as a 10-man NYCFC powered their way past the Fire early in the second half and hung on for a 2-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.
After the match, David Villa remarked that it might have been the biggest win in the club's history. Empire of Soccer agreed with him, while also describing how the big win came to pass.
They write, "Despite playing with 10 men, the Pigeons (11-6-4, 37 points) were the more dangerous team in possession and were organized defensively, limiting the Fire to shots from distance.
"City dropped its midfield line back, which forced Chicago (11-4-5, 38) into making long diagonal passes that the backline was able to handle and clear. They looked for chances on the counter through the dynamic play of Maxi Moralez and Jonathan Lewis who nearly marked his first start with a goal during the first half."
Elsewhere on the site, Christian Araos makes the case that this victory proves that NYCFC are title contenders.
Highlighting City's resilience and creativity, Araos writes, "New York City FC was down a man and under the sun on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
"The 90-degree temperature would have exposed past versions, but this year’s team outplayed the Chicago Fire in a 2-1 win. The Fire’s 11-game winning streak was snapped by a team that showed to be more than merely entertaining, but one that is capable of winning silverware."
That's high praise from Araos, but Patrick Vieira's men are proving him right thus far. After Saturday's win, the Pigeons are just three points off the top of the league, with a chance to take over the top spot when they play Toronto FC this Sunday.
Amidst B-train references and other New York City-based fun, the NY Post expressed quite a bit of relief in their take on Saturday's match—especially the second half.
"An uninspiring — and frankly boring — first half between New York City FC and the Chicago Fire was rewarded with fireworks, as NYCFC, down a man, exploded in the second half to trudge past Chicago, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium," writes the Post.
Elsewhere in New York media, Newsday wrote about how important this win was in a challenging stretch of the schedule for the Blues.
They explain: "This was the middle leg of a challenging three-match stretch against the top two teams to date in MLS and the conference — home vs. Toronto and Chicago and away against Toronto next Sunday."
Soccer By Ives also wrote about City's big-time performance, focusing on the squad's ability to overcome adversity time and time again in 2017.
"Throughout the season, New York City FC has faced its share of challenges: injuries, international call-ups, having to bounce back from tough losses, so on and so forth," notes Jeff Weisinger. "And throughout the season, NYCFC has responded to the challenge time and time again."
For his relentless performance in Saturday's match, ESPN FC put David Villa on their Heroes list from the weekend's matches. As Arch Bell points out, it wasn't just Villa's stunning goal that made this a special performance.
"In addition to scoring New York City's opener," he recalls, "the Spanish striker ran himself into the ground against arguably the best team in the league ... on a steamy day in the Bronx ... and with New York City playing with 10 men for the final 78 minutes. An extraordinary effort from the league's reigning MVP."
In a column where they call Frederic Brillant both "Trill Brill" and "The Big Man from Sedan", local blog Hudson River Blue discusses the MLS Team of the Week. Spoiler alert: Brillant is in the MLS Team of the Week.
Here's one: "Every single player on the pitch fought for each other and held on to all three points. Having watched every NYCFC game, I can’t think of a performance better than today to prove that these boys will do whatever it takes to win."
These boys will absolutely do whatever it takes. that's a sentiment that MLSsoccer.com agrees with, writing, "This was not 10 men sitting back, hitting on the counter, and grinding out a win. Rather, it was a case of New York City looking dominant for large stretches on a steamy afternoon despite their numerical disadvantage."
In other words, the performance was true grit.
Back over at Empire of Soccer, there's a very nice Tommy McNamara profile by Jack Bell just waiting to be read.
Tommy told EoS about his younger days watching soccer with his father, who gave him some sage advice.
“He would sit there with me and would tell me to watch the central midfielders, watch their tendencies, what they do off the ball and what they do with the ball,” he said.
“I learned a lot from those moments. When we watched games, it was less about technical skill, more about what they were are doing, especially off the ball, the passes they made."
Finally, Goalkeeper and Lilburn native Sean Johnson got some love from Georgia's Gwinnett Daily Post in their MLS roundup. They write about just how important Johnson was to NYCFC's victory, "as Brookwood grad Sean Johnson came up with seven saves for New York. The Fire outshot New York City 25-15, including nine on goal."