It was a shame that attendance was low at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night, July 26.
After nothing but narrow games, most of which ended in draws and losses, New York City FC finally got their most convincing win this season— a 5-0 workshop at the expense of Toronto FC. With the win, the Pigeons bounced back from a 1-0 loss to Atlas FC and just about guaranteed a spot in the Round of 32.
Fans welcomed Sean Johnson with applause in his first game back in the tri-state area. But as soon the opening whistle blew, they were anything but friendly towards NYCFC’s ex-goalkeeper. The players heard the crowd and understood the assignment.
Immediately looking like the sharpest they have been all year, it was only a matter of time before they found that net. In the 30th minute, Maxime Chanot's header opened the floodgates on the visitors. In his first start for NYCFC, Mounsef Bakrar volleyed his way into the scoreboard (45th). Before Toronto could even wrap their head around the goal, Santiago Rodríguez broke through the defense before his shot deflected into the net.
Nick Cushing does not want NYCFC blinded by the 5-0 result
As confident as they have been after scoring more goals in 45 minutes than in their past three games, NYCFC kept piling on after the intermission. Andres Jasson entered the scoreboard in the 56th minute. Then, Rodríguez struck again in the 75th, dancing around while his defender struggled to read his movement. The midfielder gracefully put the ball past his former teammate to put the icing on the cake.
NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing--though happy with the result--is convinced that there is more work to do. He expressed this in his postgame comments.
"Let's not get blinded by the score. We had the best performance of our season against Charlotte (FC) and drew."- Nick Cushing
Despite the scoreline being incredibly impressive for a team that has struggled all season, Cushing insists that there is not much of a difference from previous games.
"It's not different from the Columbus game, the Charlotte game, [and] to the Atlas game. It's not so different tonight in the sense of how we dominated, how we controlled most of the game, how we don't allow goal chances. For me, it's about understanding the process. Reviewing the game like we do every week, taking out the positives, and fixing the parts we feel will help us win the next game, whoever we get."- Nick Cushing
With a 5-8-11 record in Major League Soccer, NYCFC has been living on thin ice for much of the season. However, Cushing continuously praised needing one moment to turn things around for the team. Could this game start their rise from the ashes?
Like Cushing, Jasson believes the key is not getting carried away by this result.
"That's soccer, you get that momentum flip and try to ride it. We're definitely gonna try and do that. We're not gonna get ahead of ourselves and think we're something we're not. We know there are still games to be won and work to be put in. So I think we're gonna try to ride this and make sure we stay clinical with our chances."- Andres Jasson
Since New York City FC is guaranteed a ticket to the knockout stages based on goal differential, the team awaits their next opponent in the Leagues Cup. With local rivals, New York Red Bulls currently second in Group East 4, a potential Hudson River Derby could happen next.