New York City FC punched their MLS Playoffs ticket with a 3-1 win at the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Here’s Five Points from another strong road show from the Boys in Blue, presented by Etihad Airways…
City’s result, coupled with defeats for Montreal and Orlando to D.C. and San Jose, secured a Playoff spot at a record early date for NYCFC.
Never before have we qualified for the postseason with so many games of the regular season remaining (7) and now the task will be to finish as high up the Eastern Conference standings as possible.
Philadelphia’s 3-1 win over Atlanta in Saturday’s 1st vs. 2nd showdown means that NYCFC are now just a point off the table summit with two games in hand and two points ahead of the defending champions having played one game fewer.
It’s a great position to be in, but Dome Torrent will be warning his squad that nothing is settled yet with so many points and positioning still to fight for.
This team is hot right now.
Victory at BC Place made it four straight wins and built upon last weekend’s Hudson River Derby win in fine style.
City hardly looked back after Héber put the road team 1-0 up with 10 minutes played, doubling their lead through Gary Mackay-Steven’s first MLS goal on 25’.
A strike back from Yordy Reyna briefly put the result in some doubt until Alexandru Mitriță came up with the dagger courtesy of a free-kick with 20 minutes to go.
From there, it was a case of closing the match out which NYCFC were able to do thanks in no small part to central defenders Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot who both enjoyed excellent performances at the back.
The Long View
Taking a longer view on NYCFC’s form yields even more positivity on our chances of making this a special season.
Remember, NYCFC are in this position after failing to win in their opening six games, showing just how much this team have turned it around since.
Since the 3-3 draw at Minnesota in April, NYCFC have tasted defeat just four times, winning 14 of 21 MLS games, including seven road victories.
It’s been a great run and the boys will look to keep it going vs. in-form New England Revolution who visit Yankee Stadium next weekend.
Gary Mackay-Steven opened up his MLS and NYCFC accounts just four minutes after coming off the bench in place of the injured Héber.
The Scot has shown what he can bring to this team in mostly cameos as a substitute but with a longer look here he produced what turned out to be the game-winning goal - and on his birthday too!
Practice Makes Perfect
How do you get to Carnegie Hall…? Practice.
Anyone who watched our Inside Training episode shot on location in Vancouver will know that Mitri’s free-kick which made it 3-1 was no fluke.
The Romanian was practicing free-kicks on the eve of this MLS showdown and demonstrated that set-pieces are a deadly string to his bow with some sensational strikes.
He went close in the derby, drawing a first-class save from Luis Robles but there was nothing the Vancouver goalkeeper could do to deny Alex on Saturday night as his whipping, near post strike found the bottom corner with unerring accuracy.
Don’t bet against seeing another one or two before 2019 is out…