Saturday in The Bronx was a rollercoaster from the jump. Goals, video reviews, red cards, and in the end, redemption for Jesus Medina in the form of a brace off the bench to lead NYCFC to a fifth straight W and the first position in the Eastern Conference.
For The City
The storylines started with Maxime Chanot electing to stay for the match after being called up by the Luxembourg National Team for international duty during the FIFA International Window.
With starting center-back partner Alexander Callens in the Peruvian camp, Big Max stepped up in the standard fashion that NYC supporters have become accustomed to, commanding the defense to engineer a stifling performance after just a third-minute blip on the radar.
Brad Stuver was another star that stepped up to the sound of his fourth win of the season across all competitions.
The man the fans serenade with “Stuuu” stood tall between the sticks on Saturday, with Sean Johnson across the river the night before backing up Zack Steffen in the USA vs. Mexico friendly at MetLife Stadium.
The decision to start the 'keeper was a comfortable one, as Dome detailed in this post-match press conference on Facebook live:
Stuver was calm, cool and collected when it counted, and there to rally the troops and fans when it mattered most – aka when the three points were secured.
Dome summed it up best:
It was a total team effort that has become the calling card of this City side, highlighted by Keaton Parks’ self-described first foray into central defense and Alex Ring’s outshooting of Alexandru Mitrita, 7 > 6 amongst the 30 takes NYC had towards the target.
These anomalies were the product of a tough New England side that was previously unbeaten in 4 under Bruce Arena, and a wild game with many momentum shifts.
A point that cannot be argued, however, is how impressive the coach and his players have been in recent weeks working through injuries, call-ups, scheduling, and all of the other challenges that the game presents on a day-to-day basis.
Jesus rose up off the bench in the 60th minute to put away the chances that the Boys in Blue needed to convert to get over the hump at Yankee Stadium.
The first, a lovely dink as the lead horse in a pack of four unmarked runners on net in the 70th, and the second, the most clutch penalty you will see – a 96th-minute winner in New York City.
On the penalty, Jesus had this to say:
Thank You, Next
It’s a quick turnaround uptown. TFC flies in for a Wednesday evening tilt with the Eastern Conference leaders as we look to clinch home playoff dates ASAP.
If we want to make it six wins on the trot, our depth will be tested again. But with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi returning in a substitute role on Saturday, the attacking options continue to be bolstered in our best run of form of the season.
Come through! #ForTheCity