(An hour before kick-off in Columbus, Patrick Vieira dropped this bombshell on NYCFC fans.)
For the first time all season, NYCFC was without Andrea Pirlo or David Villa in the Starting XI. Despite being without their two most expensive players, NYCFC put in a gutsy performance to take home three points on the road against the Columbus Crew.
How do you like them apples from ‘The Big Apple?’
(sorry, couldn’t resist)
Right from the start, NYCFC put themselves ahead. In the 8th minute, Maxi Moralez played a fantastic through-ball to youngster Jack Harrison, who delightfully chipped the keeper to put the ‘Boys in Blue’ up a goal early in the match.
Following the cheeky chip, NYCFC continued to create chances but nothing too threatening.
As the first half continued, NYCFC found themselves slowly losing control of the game, as Columbus began to bring the pressure.
In the 29th minute, NYCFC finally fell victim to the Columbus pressure, as Gonzalo Higuain pulled out some magic from his Argentinian bag of tricks. On a ball whipped in with pace from the corner of the field, Higuain perfectly smashed a rocket past Sean Johnson to knot things up at a goal apiece.
After heading into halftime at 1-1, Columbus came out with their foot on the gas. Columbus nabbed the lead as a defensive giveaway by NYCFC centre-back Alexander Callens transformed into a goal for Columbus striker Ola Kamara.
That second goal by Columbus proved to be a wake-up call for Vieira’s men, as they began to claw their way back into the game. After a missed chance by Sean Okoli, NYCFC finally found their equalizer through a new face in the Starting XI, Yangel Herrera.
In the 65th minute, Herrera headed home a cross from new left-back Ben Sweat to even things up. With that goal, Herrera earned his first goal in the MLS as he continues his loan spell from Manchester City.
With the match now even at 2-2, NYCFC looked determined to leave Columbus with three points. Their determined effort came to fruition as both of NYCFC’s goalscorers combined to create the game-winning goal in the 76th minute.
In a bit of an ironic incident for NYCFC, Herrera took the ball off of the feet of the Columbus backline, then slotted a pass to Harrison, who curled one past the keeper to secure a comeback victory for NYCFC.
3-2 to the ‘Boys in Blue.’
1. Jack Harrison is Really Good
- After bagging his first brace of his career tonight, there is no question that Jack Harrison is one of the best players in the league. For a 20-year old in only his second year, his poise and composure is something that is rare for someone his age. If NYCFC wants to have success this year, he will have to play a significant role in it.
2. NYCFC has Depth
- With Okoli, Sweat, and Herrera getting their first starts of the year, NYCFC went to the bench on Saturday. After the smoke had cleared, every single one of the new starters contributed to an NYCFC goal or scoring opportunity during the match. Going forward, Vieira now knows that he can rely on his bench, something vitally important for French manager.
3. If NYCFC Doesn’t Concede Bad Goals, They Could Be Elite
- NYCFC did indeed concede another goal off of a defensive error, an all too common theme for the squad this year. Despite these errors, NYCFC still was able to muster up three points on the road. We saw how elite NYCFC could be tonight even without arguably their best line-up. Take a second and imagine if they didn’t concede any goals due to defensive errors. Yeah, they would be pretty good.