It was by no means an easy night for NYCFC, but there were some bright performances in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. One such performance came from Frederic Brillant, who took the defensive reins for City after his center back partner Alexander Callens was ejected in the 52nd minute.
FIVE THINGS: Reasons to Believe
In addition to providing the strong vocal leadership that helped organize a backline whose personnel had suddenly changed, Brillant pitched in with six successful tackles and four interceptions while completing 95% of his passing.
Brillant had plenty to do, and he did all of it well.
PHOTOS: Turnaround Time
Brillant's key defensive moment came just after NYCFC's biggest offensive moment...
Just after David Villa scored a crucial away goal for City in the 78th minute, Columbus were on the attack again. After a rough tackle helped Columbus extend their build-up play, Crew goal-scorer Ola Kamara found himself with the ball in NYCFC's box.
Justin Meram found Kamara with a splitting pass, but before the forward was able to find an option, Brillant closed him down and got the ball out of danger.
That tackle was perhaps the most important of his six on the night, and helped keep NYCFC from immediately losing the momentum they gained from scoring just a minute before.
PATRICK VIEIRA: This Isn't Over
In Patrick's Words...
After the match, Patrick Vieira shed some light on who will be playing next to Brillant in the second leg of this match-up on Sunday.
One thing is for sure: Brillant will be leading the back line and making his new partner's life as easy as possible.
The Fans Said...
Brillant currently playing every position on the back line— David Ray (@DavidRayWilson) November 1, 2017
The man was everywhere, indeed.