Before New York City FC could take the pitch against Orlando City SC, fans were already upset. The Starting XI was released, and many voiced their disappointment with Nick Cushing’s choices. Many wanted Talles Magno to get a chance, and others thought Julián Fernández had played well enough to earn a start. Instead, Cushing went with controversial starters like Andres Jasson, Richard Ledezma, and Kevin O’Toole.
Notably, Jasson has performed well in the last couple of games that he played in. But the frustration is understandable because Orlando is in second place. The lineup Cushing put out does not show a must-win lineup that is desperately needed.
However, NYCFC shocked everyone. They beat the Lions, 2-0. Nonetheless, it was a welcoming result.
Here are three things we learned from the NYCFC win against Orlando.
Here are three things we learned from the match between NYCFC and Orlando
1. The penalty kick changed the atmosphere on the pitch for NYCFC
The first half between New York City FC and Orlando City SC was boring for most of the initial 45 minutes. The Pigeons looked lackluster, uninspired, and dull like they did against the New York Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby. Both teams were barely doing anything to make the game exciting.
That all changed when the Pigeons were awarded a penalty kick. Santiago Rodríguez stepped up to take the kick and sent the ball to the left of the goal. But Pedro Gallese, who haunts the dreams of NYCFC players, made the save. Truthfully, it was a poorly taken penalty kick.
Thankfully, the ball felt right to Mounsef Bakrar, who headed the ball into the back of the net on a dive in the 37th minute. He put his team up front, and suddenly, the energy between the two 2015 expansion sides shifted. The match became more energetic and tense. There was a bit of a scuffle right after the goal, and then the first half became more of a back-and-forth affair. The goal was needed; NYCFC supporters could not bear to sit and watch another lackluster fixture.
2. The injury bug is spreading
For the most part, NYCFC has had an okay year regarding injuries. Some players missed a few games here and there. But then Maxi Moralez went down with his ACL injury, and he will be out for the year and likely most of 2024. Keaton Parks followed a few games later with an ankle injury. Yet, the sprain is not as serious as initially thought.
Now, Richard Ledezma left the Orlando match injured. He had to be stretchered off due to a probable ankle injury. As such, the injury bug has begun to hit the Pigeons at the worst possible time. They need everyone healthy if they want to try and make the playoffs.
Ledezma appeared to be in serious pain, and fans can only hope that he will be okay. Yet, things are not looking so good since he could not even hobble off the pitch. NYCFC cannot lose anyone else this year.
3. Talles Magno’s first goal for NYCFC since April is everything
Talles Magno has been the most disputed player for NYCFC. Some supporters do not want to see him, and others think he needs minutes to shine.
Once again, he did not start. But when Ledezma went off injured, Cushing sent the Brazilian on the pitch. And what did he do? He delivered.
In the 68th minute, Andres Jasson sent the ball into the box right to Magno. The winger headed it in the air toward the top of the goal, and it went right into the back of the left side of the net. Finally, for the first time since April 22, 2023, he scored.
It was evident what the goal meant to him. He immediately fell to the ground, sobbing with joy. His teammates surrounded him, enhancing the emotional scene. This was the goal the Brazilian had been seeking for months. Of course, the lack of playing time as of late did not help. But now, in a match against a top-tier Orlando side, he reminded everyone of his talent.
Hopefully, this goal will convince Cushing that Magno should be a part of the Starting XI. New York City FC desperately needs a spark, and the winger might be the answer with the confidence boost goal.