New York City FC clinched the first seed and qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League in Season 5 but they’re not done yet.
Dome Torrent’s men are marching on to the postseason on the back of a record-breaking season but how did they get here? Continuing NYCFC.com’s reflection on the regular season, here’s five key matches from the past seven months of beautiful football from New York City’s Football Club…
The Turn | Minnesota United 3-3 NYCFC, April 13
Season 5 really has been a wild ride.
Back on April 13, City were without a win in their opening five MLS games and not many pundits were forecasting glad tidings for the Boys in Blue when they travelled to Saint Paul to open up Minnesota United’s new stadium.
Five goals were traded in a breathless first half, with Minnesota up 3-2 amid a party atmosphere at Allianz Field but NYC rallied and refused to be beaten.
Tajouri-Shradi came up with the equalizer after the break and City pushed hard for the win, creating some big chances in the final 30’. Although they fell short of that first win of the season and settled for a fifth draw of the young campaign, it was a confidence-boosting performance which set the table for everything that was to come…
Samba Time | DC United 0-2 NYCFC, April 21
In the very next match, NYCFC did get their first win of the season and a new hero announced himself to the City faithful.
Héber’s arrival from HNK Rijeka proved to be the final key piece for the Boys in Blue and he opened up his account on the road at DC United’s Audi Field, emphatically thrashing in a volley from Ronald Matarrita’s sublime assist.
Cue the celebration we’ve seen 14 more times in Season 5 and the first of seven road wins (a club record).
City’s top-scorer, a man with a million-watt smile, has an infectious enthusiasm which has rubbed off on the whole squad - and with the kind of finishing we saw for the first time vs. DC, it didn’t take Héber long to become an NYCFC fan favorite.
Fight to the End | NYCFC 3-2 Houston Dynamo, August 8
No team in MLS has taken more than City’s 25 points from losing positions.
Time and time again, NYCFC have found the answer when going behind early in games, as best demonstrated in the Taty Castellanos late show vs. Houston.
Trailing 2-1 on the hour mark in the BX, Castellanos climbed off the bench and scored twice in the final 10’ to reward the fans who stayed late and never stopped believing in the comeback.
Dome put it best: “The most important thing tonight is the way we fight until the end. When that happens you can be confident for the next game because you know you can do it.”
New York is Blue | NYCFC 2-1 Red Bulls, August 24
It’s the date on the calendar circled twice by soccer fans on both sides of the Hudson River and NYCFC came into the Yankee Stadium meeting with a big score to settle.
Just a few weeks after Red Bulls emerged victorious from a controversial clash in Harrison, City delivered their riposte, once again coming from behind to take all three points.
In terms of “Moments of the Season”, you can’t really beat a late backheel-megs winner from your top-scorer in a derby, can you?
Héber’s improvised finish from Anton Tinnerholm’s brilliant assist was a resounding winner of the Goal of the Season vote at the 2019 NYCFC Awards and gave his team the bragging rights from an unforgettable Hudson River Derby.
Conquering the Champs | NYCFC 4-1 Atlanta United, September 25
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
City all but locked up the first seed and CONCACAF Champions League qualification on Fan Appreciation Night in the Bronx: A night that no one in attendance will ever forget.
Alexandru Mitriță wrote his name up in lights with a 20-minute first half hat-trick as NYCFC took apart Frank De Boer’s defending champs in a glorious display of attacking football.
Héber added the dagger on his return from injury late on to truly announce this NYCFC team as MLS Cup contenders and set off the supporters’ section.
"Did you enjoy the show?" The Ringleader asked on the mic after the match. The roar back from 25k inside Yankee Stadium was an unambiguous "YERRRRRRR".
There we have it. Five games from an unforgettable Season 5. What were your key matches? Hit us up on Twitter @NYCFC and let us know any we missed.
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