NYCFC Goals: Ring 47', Villa 52'
New York City FC clinched their place in the Audi 2018 MLS Playoffs in style on Wednesday night, thanks to goals from Alex Ring and David Villa gave the Boys in Blue a 2-0 victory over Chicago Fire.
A dominant but frustratingly goalless first half was soon forgotten when Ring scored a beauty to put NYCFC 1-0 up and David Villa finished another off five minutes later to send the home side on their way to victory.
Domènec Torrent’s men entered this showdown with Chicago knowing that a tie would be enough to sure up a place in the postseason.
However, perhaps even more pressing, was the need to grab all three points following a poor run of results, even if performances had improve over the past four.
Ebenezer Ofori, James Sands and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi all returned to the XI as City chased their first win in six.
The Boys in Blue made a strong start, with David Villa twice going close inside the first 10’, first warming Stefan Cleveland’s hands with a 30 yard free-kick, before going close again after a nice interchange with Anton Tinnerholm and Tajouri-Shradi.
Maxime Chanot was next to go close with a commanding header off a corner on 28’ but his effort was thumped the wrong side of the post, while at the other end, former Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson rescued his side with an excellent save from a Raheem Edwards bicycle kick.
With just one goal at home in their last two and a half matches, the drought went on through more chances for Chanot, Moralez and Villa as City did everything but score in a dominant first half.
For all the opportunities, eight in all for the home side, it was zeroes at the half once again as the levy refused to break.
It would take just five second half minutes for that to change, with Alex Ring firing in his second goal for the club with a superbly-taken strike, opening up his body to meet Villa’s cushioned pass first-time with a finessed finish past Cleveland’s despairing paw.
Just five minutes later, the advantage was doubled thanks to El Capitan, but this goal was all about Maxi Moralez who teased the Chicago left-back, dragging it back and forward on the byline, before crossing for Villa to thrash home.
It was no less than Torrent’s side deserved, and, although there were no more goals in the remaining minutes, those inside Yankee Stadium would’ve been content to see their team back to scoring goals and winning games.
Next up: A long trip to Minnesota as City aims to finish as high up the Eastern Conference as possible with three games to go.
NYCFC.com Star of the Game
It wasn’t just the Finn’s goal which caught the eye, the midfielder was a dynamo in the center of the field all night, winning back possession for his team on countless occasions and linking play.
But it was a stunning goal too, with Alex opening up his body and curling around Cleveland brilliantly.
Social Post of the Match…
Stats and Milestones
- Torrent made three changes to his lineup, bringing in Ofori, Sands and Tajouri-Shradi
- NYCFC's all-time record vs. Chicagi is now P10 W4 D3 L3
- Alexander Callens missed the game vs. Chicago for yellow card accumulation
- Alex Ring scored his second goal for NYCFC and second of 2018
- David VIlla scored his 12th goal of the season
How they lined up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm, Chanot, Sweat, Matarrita, Ring, Sands (Amagat 67'), Ofori, Tajouri-Shradi (Ibeagha 84;), Moralez (Berget 69'), Villa (C)
Subs: Stuver, McNamara, Wallace, Castellanos
The Boys in Blue are two-third's way through a three-game week - next up, it's a road trip to Minnesota. Our final Regular Season home game is vs. Philadelphia on October 28. Get your tickets at NYCFC.com/Tickets.