After a water main break to a pipe forced New York City FC to postpone the match against Toronto FC, the two Eastern Conference sides faced each other on Sunday for an afternoon battle. Ophelia’s rain remained in the area, but luckily, the game had a bit of a lull sometimes. This made the playing conditions slightly better at Red Bull Arena.
Going into the fixture, three points would place NYCFC into a playoff spot. At least, that would be the case for this weekend. Hence, winning was the only option for Nick Cushing’s side.
NYCFC did not score five goals, but they did score three to win 3-0. A fantastic offensive effort saw the Pigeons earn the much-needed three points. The team also moved into ninth place after the 90 minutes of play.
Here are three things we learned from the NYCFC win.
Here are three things we learned from the NYCFC game against Toronto
1. NYCFC must find a way to make Andrés Perea’s move permanent
When New York City FC signed Andrés Perea on loan from the Philadelphia Union, it was deemed a questionable move. Sure, the team needed depth in the midfield, but it was an intriguing decision to bring in someone on loan from a rival Eastern Conference team.
Nonetheless, Perea has been a godsend for the midfield. He worked well with everyone he has played with thus far, especially James Sands. His passing abilities have been pretty superb. More importantly, having him with the team was extremely helpful with the injuries of Maxi Moralez and Keaton Parks.
Then, in the match against Toronto, Perea scored his first goal for the club. Santiago Rodríguez sent a perfect ball into the box, and the midfielder met the ball with his head, sending it easily into the goal. This, and the fact he has been vital to the Starting XI over the last few games, should be enough to try and sign him permanently from Philadelphia.
This would leave one less headache going into the 2024 season. The Front Office already knows he has a natural chemistry with his teammates. Also, he has the talent to start. Whether the Union would allow NYCFC to steal him is another question entirely.
2. The Pigeons need to find out who the penalty kick taker is
NYCFC has not been awarded too many penalty kicks this season. But now, in the last two matches, they have been awarded two. In both cases, the players who took the penalty kick missed.
In the fixture against Orlando City SC, Rodríguez had his shot saved, but fortunately, Mounsef Bakrar was there to send the rebound into the goal. Against Toronto, Bakrar had his opportunity, but subsequently, his was saved as well.
Therefore, the Pigeons must figure out who their penalty kick-taker should be. Maybe, Cushing should reserve some practice time for taking penalties. Yes, there have not been many chances in 2023. Yet, with a few matches remaining, NYCFC should prepare just in case. A penalty kick opportunity could make the difference in the chase for all three points.
3. Talles Magno proved why he should start
Talles Magno made his first start for NYCFC in a long time in the Toronto fixture. He recently scored for the first time against Orlando, so his confidence was sky-high.
The winger did not score on Sunday, but he had one of his best performances of the season. He did not give the ball away as much as he has in the past. His passing was brilliant at points. He was also roaming the wings and midfield. This made himself available to numerous teammates for moving the ball up the pitch.
It would be terrible not to mention he was also in the striker position at times, but his best moments did not occur as the number nine. When he moved into the striker role, he quieted down a little.
Moreover, Magno was involved in some of the goals. If this was a hockey game, then he would have received an assist on Perea’s goal because he passed the ball to Rodríguez, who received the assist. Later in the second half, it was his through ball that led to the incredible run by Julián Fernández to singlehandedly move the ball into the box and score NYCFC’s third of the match.
Cushing has to be inspired by the Brazilian’s last two performances. So, Magno should start for the rest of the season. New York City FC will be better with him playing, as long as it is not as a number nine.