NYCFC earns first three points of the season after beating Toronto FC

  • NYCFC was winless as they entered the match against Toronto FC
  • Despite going down a man, they were able to hold on and win
NYCFC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After losing the first three Major League Soccer matches of the year, New York City FC was desperate to grab their first win.  They welcomed Toronto FC to Yankee Stadium on Saturday after losing their home opener last weekend to the Portland Timbers.  It was a nice evening, but the question remained whether the Bronx team would surprise everyone and put on a good performance.

It was not just the players everyone was concerned about, but head coach Nick Cushing as well.  Many mistrust and doubt his game-time decisions and tactics.  The Englishman has not had much success with the Pigeons; his record alone warrants the fans' opinions who call for his sacking.

Entering the game, Toronto was in a better position compared to NYCFC.  They had seven points out of nine, while the home side had zero.

Thankfully, NYCFC fans can celebrate and rejoice!  The Pigeons earned their first three points after beating Toronto FC 2-1.  This was a much-needed win for everyone. This was also the first time the team beat the Reds three games in a row.

NYCFC holds on to beat Toronto FC

NYCFC went down early when Toronto went ahead in the seventh minute.  Alonso Coello sent a long ball over everyone, and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty could not be beaten.  Thiago Martins and Mitja Ilenič failed to stop the young player, and Matt Freese fell to the ground when he tried to grab the ball.  The winger used the advantage to put his team on top.

NYCFC was able to draw level later in the 24th minute.  It was a rare goal too, for Santiago Rodríguez scored a direct free kick.  The too-early-but-still-true MVP sent the ball into the top left corner of the goal and drew his side level.

The first half was the Pigeon’s best half in 2024 by the time it was halftime.  As many know, the team collapsed in the second half against the Portland Timbers after having the best first half last weekend.  The question was this: would history repeat itself?

The answer was no.  NYCFC continued their high level of play and attack in the second half against Toronto.  They kept pushing and pushing, and eventually, scored the second goal.  In the 65th minute, Julián Fernández sent a beautiful ball into the box.  Kevin O’Toole was there, and headed the ball into the goal, scoring the winner.  This was the left-back’s first goal in MLS.

In all honesty, things did get scary when Keaton Parks earned a red card in the 68th minute after a poor foul.  This put the Pigeons on the defensive after going down a man.  The players on the pitch did their job though.  Most of the final 22 minutes plus stoppage time was spent clearing and blocking the ball.  However, they did it.  They held on to earn the first win of the season.

Next weekend, NYCFC will surely be in a pickle.  They will be without multiple players due to international call-ups when they travel to Cincinnati.  They will also be without Parks due to the red card.  No one knows when Talles Magno will return either.  With all the missing players, will Cushing figure out a way to win on the road, let alone against a talented FC Cincinnati?

Hence, concerns remain for NYCFC.  It is great to celebrate the first win, but that does not mean the team is out of danger yet.  There is still a chance that they lose five of their first six games since they are heading out on the road for their next two matches.

Oh, and the pressure remains on Cushing.  He is not out of the woods yet, but credit must be given when it is due.  He led the team to the first win, and NYCFC is finally no longer winless in 2024.