Vancouver Goals: Reyna 64’
NYCFC Goals: Héber 10’, Mackay-Steven 26’, Mitriță 72'
New York City FC clinched a spot in the MLS Playoffs at a record early date after defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1.
Goals from Héber, Gary Mackay-Steven and Alexandru Mitriță gave the Boys in Blue a fourth consecutive win.
City’s win, along with defeats to Montreal and Orlando, means NYC can look forward to a fourth-successive MLS Playoffs campaign.
New York City FC chased a fourth-successive win in Vancouver, following back-to-back victories over Cincinnati, Columbus and Red Bulls.
Dome Torrent made two enforced changes to his XI, bringing in Tony Rocha and Ben Sweat for the suspended Alex Ring and Ronald Matarrita.
Kicking off just after Philadelphia’s 3-1 win over Atlanta United, NYCFC knew three points at BC Place would move them into second place with games in hand on the leaders.
They made the perfect start, taking the lead with just 10 minutes on the clock.
It was a slick finish from Héber, who took a through ball on his instep and struck with the outside of his foot under the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
Sadly, the Brazilian’s night was cut short by injury when he pulled up on 21’.
Birthday boy Gary Mackay entered in place of the striker who has now scored 14 goals in MLS.
Mackay-Steven didn’t take long to make an impression, opening his NYCFC account with a clipped finish on 26’, just five minutes after his introduction.
The chance came from a turnover high up the field in the Vancouver third and was typical of the intensity shown by the Boys in Blue in the first half.
There was one moment of panic in the first 45’ when the referee pointed to the spot for a Vancouver penalty but VAR adjudged that Sean Johnson had not committed a foul and overturned the initial decision.
On 35’, Torrent’s men almost took the lead when a brilliant move led by Alexandru Mitrita culminated in a shot by Taty Castellanos which was blocked on the line.
2-0 it stayed going in at the break but Vancouver hit back early in the second period through Yordy Reyna, who volleyed in on 64’ from across the box into the top corner.
It came after Vancouver's best spell in the game, the 15' after the halftime break.
However, it wouldn’t stay that way long… Mitriță left his mark and finished Vancouver off with a whipping free-kick from 25 yards out on 72, bringing the ball in at the goalkeeper’s near post expertly.
That made it 3-1 which is how it stayed, clinching City’s place in the postseason at a record early date.
Man of the Match
The Romanian put in what was perhaps his best performance for NYCFC thus far, creating numerous chances for his teammates and scoring a beautiful goal of his own.
The free-kick was just one part of an excellent showing from our no.28 who is really coming into form in his first season at the Club.
NYCFC are back in the Bronx next Saturday when New England Revolution come to town.