NYCFC Gets Past Orlando City SC
NYCFC took to Citi Field on Wednesday night as they welcomed Orlando City to Queens. The Boys in Blue took a first-half lead in the 37th minute after Mounsef Bakrar pounced on a rebound from Santiago Rodríguez's saved penalty kick. That lead would be doubled in the 68th minute after substitute Talles Magno produced a brilliant header from an Andres Jasson cross. A pair of goals would be all that was needed to give NYCFC a vital three points against the Lions.
NYCFC spent Wednesday night in the World's Borough as they hosted Orlando at Citi Field.
The Lions knew a win or a tie would guarantee their place in the playoffs, while NYCFC were keen to close the gap on D.C. United in the final playoff spot.
Head Coach Nick Cushing made three changes to the team that tied Red Bulls last time out, with Kevin O'Toole, Andres Jasson, and Richy Ledezma replacing Braian Cufré, Matías Pellegrini, and Keaton Parks.
A fast start to the game saw NYCFC register the first major chance inside four minutes after a well-worked freekick saw the ball land at the feet of Andreas Perea. The midfielder stabbed an effort at goal but Pedro Gallese did well to get down low and palm it away to safety.
In response, Orlando began to try and test Matt Freese in the NYCFC goal. Ramiro Enrique tested the shot-stopper in the 22nd minute before Rafael Santos registered an attempt sixty seconds later.
The game began opening up and Mounsef Bakrar - hunting for his next goal in MLS - came close after connecting with a Ledezma cross.
In the 37th minute, NYCFC were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead after Rodríguez was tripped in the box by Enrique. The Uruguayan stepped up to take the kick, and although his attempt was saved, on hand to head in the rebound was Mounsef Bakrar for his third MLS goal of the season.
Orlando would end the first 45 with an opportunity from a set piece, but Mauricio Pereyra was unable to keep his attempt under the crossbar.
Ledezma's evening would be brought to a premature end in the 59th minute after he picked up an injury as a result of a tackle from Wilder Cartagena - the midfielder replaced by Talles Magno.
The forward wasted no time involving himself in the contest by doubling NYCFC's advantage with a brilliant header from a Jasson cross from the right.
In the 75th minute, James Sands came close to notching his first goal for the Club, but was denied from close range. A flurry of chances followed as Thiago Martins and Perea both tested Gallese without success.
Orlando were desperately seeking a route back into the game but in their way they found an NYCFC side determined to maintain a clean sheet. As the clock ticked into injury time Cushing made four changes.
In came Justin Haak, Cufré, Mitja Ilenič, and Julián Fernandez in place of Bakrar, Perea, Jasson, and Rodríguez. That would be the final notable act of the contest and confirm a vital 2-0 win for NYCFC against Orlando City.
Next up for New York City Football Club is a meeting with Toronto FC on Saturday, September 23, 2023. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
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