New York City FC saw Season 3 end with an exit out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Columbus Crew at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night – but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
NYCFC invigorated the home crowd with comeback dreams as David Villa converted a 16th minute PK and Andraz Struna pulled another back with a deflected shot in the 53rd minute. Although the comeback would eventually fall short by a score of 3-4 on aggregate across to the two legs – there were a few positives to take from the last stand of 2017 at Yankee Stadium.
One major one being the resurgence of Ronald Matarrita. The Costa Rican international spent much of the season recovering from injury – and Sunday night provided Ronald with the opportunity to shine again in the Bronx after Ben Sweat moved inside for center-back cover.
The young Tico added a new dimension to NYCFC’s attack – providing a consistent threat up the left-wing and the ability to combine with players higher up the field as Columbus tried to hold their lead. Mata completed 31 successful passes in the opposition half and 11 in the final third alone.
The emergence of Ben Sweat remains one of the stories of the season – and adding a healthy Ronald Matarrita to the mix will only work to push NYCFC to new heights.
Finally, Ronald will now become the answer to a football trivia question – being the player subbed off for Andrea Pirlo’s final appearance. #GrazieMaestro.