The final day of the Major League Soccer season is here and New York City FC is in a fight for their playoff lives. The Pigeons are playing Chicago Fire FC. Both teams need to win to have a chance at the postseason.
Winning does not guarantee a postseason berth. NYCFC needs Nashville SC to win their match, and then for Inter Miami CF to draw or win. Plus, the loss to D.C. United did not help the Queens side's chances.
So, since this day will be the most hectic in the club's history, Skyscraper Blues decided to follow the game and write the thoughts and reactions throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Will NYCFC win? Will the other results go the right way? Just refresh the page throughout the match to follow along.
Tracking NYCFC and Chicago Fire FC live
Before the match
-Alfredo Morales and Richard Ledezma join Maxi Moralez on the injured list. Everyone else is available.
-Julián Fernández is starting! That is the right move from Nick Cushing.
-Here is the rest of the Starting XI:
-The Starting XI is a solid one. It would have been nice to see Braian Cufré, but Kevin O'Toole has had solid performances over the last few weeks.
The first half
1' Regardless of what happens around them, NYCFC needs to win.
4' The shot by Santiago Rodríguez was a decent one, but the way Talles Magno moved to make the pass is what the team needs in the attack.
7' The missed opportunity to take the shot or pass the ball by Rodríguez describes the season very well.
11' Defensively, the team is concrete and on the same page. But if the Fire continues to attack, then they can easily go ahead with one mistake.
16' What a save by Matt Freese! NYCFC has been allowing Chicago to have too much possession in their half so that shot by Fabian Herbers ups the nerves.
20' Keaton Parks just tried a backheel shot. Maybe today is not the day to try that...
23' Fernández took a good corner kick. Sadly, no one could get on the end of the ball.
25' With 25 minutes played, NYCFC has to be more aggressive.
25' Rodríguez had the perfect chance to put the ball in the back of the net but instead pushed it wide. The aggression was there, but the attackers need to be clinical going forward. Again, this describes 2023 for the Pigeons.
29' A foul by James Sands led to a free kick for Chicago.
30' Xherdan Shaqiri took the free kick and forced Freese into another vital save. So far, he is the Man of the Match.
33' NYCFC has looked better in the attack. It is a shame that Magno was offside when he shot and a deflection from Mounsef Bakrar sent the ball into the goal. The free kick afterward could have gone better too.
37' The Pigeons are maintaining more possession. They need to keep control of the ball to limit the chances of the Fire.
42' Magno is proving why he should always start on the wings! The Brazilian moved around defenders without an issue and had a good shot that was blocked.
-That is the end of the first half. The score is 0-0.
-NYCFC has had some decent chances. They cannot find their goal-scoring boots.
-On a negative note, the other matches are not in their favor. Charlotte FC is leading Inter Miami 1-0. Nashville is tied with the New York Red Bulls.
-Meanwhile, the crowd seems a little thin for Decision Day...
-The Pigeons outshot the Fire, ten to four, in the first half.
The second half
46' Magno or Bakrar please score. Really anyone. Please and thank you.
49' Chicago came out of the locker room ready to play. Where is NYCFC?
52' The Pigeons had some luck after Chicago had a corner kick. The ball was sent into the box, and Carlos Terán's header thankfully went over the goal. He was not marked.
55' Magno had a weak header attempt, but the pass from Fernández was spot on. NYCFC's newest player is just a delight to watch.
58' Cushing should maybe bring on another offensive-minded player...
59' Thiago Martins had a free header but could not score.
60' The Pigeons have made the first changes. Parks and Tayvon Gray came out of the match. For once, Cushing made the right changes, for Andrés Perea and Mitja Ilenič came on.
64' Fernández scores for NYCFC! The winger had a beautiful curl from right outside the box that went into the top left corner of the goal. This was exactly what fans ordered. Plus, 2024 is looking bright with him on the wings.
67' This was a nice moment, for the players worked together to defend their goal and then go on a counter-attack. Note nothing occurred on the counter.
70' It would be a nice time to bring on Cufré...
74' The other games are still not in NYCFC's favor.
76' Freese had another save after a header attempt from Brian Gutiérrez.
81' At this rate, it does not look like NYCFC will be in the playoffs. It would be nice if they could at least get the win.
83' The Fire is being more aggressive and taking control of the game. They earned another corner kick but could not do anything from it.
84' Andres Jasson is on for the goal scorer.
88' The Fire had another corner kick, but thankfully they could not capitalize. In all honesty, the Pigeons are lucky they have not leveled the score.
89' The foul called on O'Toole does not make sense. He made contact with the ball. How could he stop the follow-through?
90' +1' There are three minutes of stoppage time. Just hang on...
-That is the match. NYCFC beats Chicago. Unfortunately, the 1-0 win is not enough. The Red Bulls got the late winner over Nashville, while Charlotte beat Miami. For the first time since 2015, New York City FC will not be in the playoffs.