NYCFC breaks winless streak in a barnburner against Nashville SC
By Leocciano Callao
New York City FC played their first game in Citi Field this season and second of a three-game home stretch against Nashville SC. After failing to win in their last three matches, the Pigeons looked to avenge a 2-0 loss in their season opener.
NYCFC ends winless streak with 2-1 win against Nashville
It did not take long for the boys in blue to warm up. Ten minutes in, Keaton Parks opened the scoring with a header from a Mitja Ilenič cross, scoring his first goal of the season. In the 25th, Maxime Chanot scored a highlight goal, volleying the ball from Richard Ledezma's corner kick. The team controlled 56 percent of the possession while Luis Barraza tallied three saves before halftime.
It appeared as if NYCFC had put the game to bed before the later half as they remained on the doorstep of scoring opportunities. In a back-and-forth affair, Nashville also had their chances, but Barraza and the backline remained solid in protecting the goal. The goalkeeper had this to say:
"I think [it was] one of our toughest games so far. They were a tough team to deal with physically, a really strong team. But we managed to keep our cool and find the back of the net, which is what we have been working on this week. Just happy to get this result."- Luis Barraza
Despite a breakthrough goal from Nashville's Hany Mukhtar in the 80th minute, Barraza's five total saves were a game-changer for a side that desperately needed a win. Another x-factor was Ledezma, who made his presence felt despite getting subbed out in the 61st. After joining NYCFC late in March, Ledezma got his first assist and was named Man of the Match in his first start for New York. The 22-year-old stressed the importance of his team when discussing his performance.
"The coach and the players gave me confidence. My first two days, three days [with the team], I felt iffy, you know. But after that, I felt comfortable. My teammates trust me. They give me the ball in tight spaces that I can get out of-- that's what it's all about, trusting each other and building relationships."- Richard Ledezma
It was Parks though who said it best regarding the team's overall performance.
"It just felt great to get three points. We performed from start to finish. Whether we were suffering or playing well with the ball, everybody gave their all the whole time. We deserve these three points."- Keaton Parks
New York City FC currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2-3 record. They will remain in Queens next week as they welcome FC Dallas.