New York City FC easily cruise into CCL Quarterfinals
By Jack Blanchard
There will be more difficult nights than tonight should New York City FC lift this season's CONCACAF Champions League. NYCFC breezed past Santos de Guapiles 4-0 (6-0 on aggregate) thanks to goals from Alfredo Morales, Maxime Chanot, and a Talles Magno brace.
The "home" match for NYCFC, which was played in Los Angeles, took on more of a preseason atmosphere given the lack of a crowd and quality of the opposition. The Pigeons dominated possession, and faced little attacking threat from the Costa Rican side.
Chanot and Morales both scored from first half corner kicks, a positive sign that City's set piece prowess will carry over from last season. With a four goal aggregate cushion at halftime, NYCFC advancing to the next round was a mere formality.
This allowed Ronny Deila to rotate the squad and give some fringe players in the squad some first team minutes. If anything, NYCFC was more dominant in a second half that saw the likes of Andres Jasson, Chris Gloster, and Vuk Latinovich rewarded with game time. Additionally, Heber and Keaton Parks continued their recoveries from long term injuries with 35 minute cameos.
Young designated player Talles Magno scoring 2 goals is a promising sign for NYCFC heading into MLS play. Magno is undeniably talented, and will be counted on in a larger role this season for the club. His ability to create and convert chances will be vital in NYCFC's quest to add more silverware to their trophy cabinet this season.
Overall, this was a professional performance in a game that NYCFC was widely expected to win. Given the pace of the game, fatigue should not be a worry heading into Sunday afternoon's opener against LA Galaxy. Several key players were taken off early in the second half. Alexander Callens did come off at halftime, but there is no word as to whether that is injury related or simply to rest him for a date with Chicharito on Sunday.