Patrick Vieira's men waited as long as they possibly could, but a heroic stoppage time strike from Jonathan Lewis gave them a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution.
It was a hard-fought game that wasn't quite as fluid as NYCFC would have wanted, but despite the choppy tempo, Vieira praised his side for getting the job done.
"I think today, we didn't play our best football because of New England," said Vieira. "But at the same time, we wanted to win, we have a positive attitude, we tried to create chances, we tried to play forward.
"At times, we cannot do it, but at the end, we scored the goal and I think our strength is the players who come from the bench always bring something to the team. I think when Jonathan came on, he created more space for David. Khiry Shelton came on and brought his energy.
"We are where we are because we are a team where, the people that come from the bench always bring something to the team. That is a strength."
NYCFC's attacking depth has played a big role in their success in recent weeks, and this time it was Lewis who had the biggest impact off the bench. He's now scored two goals in his last two games for City, and tonight, Vieira noted that his hard work in training is starting to pay off.
"Jonathan just needs to keep working hard in training," said the gaffer. "When you come in as a rookie, you always need time to adapt to the quality of the MLS, the tempo of MLS, and try to understand the game better because of the players you are surrounded by.
"He's been working really well, he's been working really hard, and all the good things he's been doing on the field are because, since the very first day, he's always got his focus right.
"When you work hard and you work well, you get rewarded."
As New York City head into the final stretch of the MLS regular season—they have just nine more matches left—that depth will be a key factor in where they finish in the table and, more importantly, how deep they can go into the post-season.
According to Vieira, all 26 players play an important role in whatever happens next, and the message is clear from the Head Coach: They're taking it one match at a time.
"What is important for us, and the message is clear to the players, is that the 26 players will make us achieve good things, not just the eleven who started the game," explained Vieira.
"It's important for players to understand that we are all together and we all have the same kind of objective. Today I think everybody showed that and I think it's really important because that is a positive message to send.
"Tonight it was about Jonathan, Khiry, and Ugo, but next time it can be some other players."