On Earth Day, New York City FC played the last match of their three-game home stand. The Pigeons welcomed FC Dallas to Queens, and looked to grab another three points after the strong win against Nashville SC.
Historically, four of the seven regular season games had ended in draws. Plus, NYCFC has only won twice against the team, with the last win occurring just last year in Dallas. So not only was there the want to grab another win to climb up the Eastern Conference table, but the want was there to better the record against the Texas side.
Interestingly, Jesús Ferreira, Dallas’ leading scorer did not start. Both he and James Sands started for the USMNT mid-week, but Sands still resumed his starting role for the Pigeons. Right away, supporters of both sides wondered whether that would impact the away team’s chances in the attack, and whether that would give a slight edge in Saturday’s match-up.
Indeed, that was the case, for NYCFC won, 3-1. The team had a superb attacking performance, and hopefully this is the boost of confidence that is needed for the upcoming test of road matches.
NYCFC beats FC Dallas with a strong offensive performance
FC Dallas came into the fixture making fun of New York City FC playing in a baseball stadium. They were so focused on that, when they should have focused on the actual game. Jokes aside, they did play well and had their attacking opportunities, but defensively they fell apart.
Of course, before the goal tallying could begin, the horror show that is the PRO referees made an appearance after a controversial call. At first, it appeared Gabriel Pereira scored his third goal of the season with an incredible shot on the ground into the right side of goal. Yet, VAR and the referees were crawling in the shadows, trying to find a way to make the game about them once again.
After a VAR review, Fotis Bazakos declared the goal to be offside due to interference by other players. It was difficult to see where that call could be made, but perhaps it was karma for the Pigeons. They had a somewhat similar call overturned in the game against New England, where it was argued that the goal occurred when a player was in Luis Barraza’s sightline. The goal was overturned, but after the fact, it was deemed that should not have been the case. It will be interesting to see if anything similar occurs afterwards for NYCFC.
Arguably, that overturned goal turned the dominance by the home side to an equal attacking first half. Both teams had chances, and were on the prowl for a goal. But the tide changed when Dallas made an error in the 44th minute. This allowed Santiago Rodríguez to retrieve the ball right near the box and send a shot right to the bottom left side of goal, and put the Pigeons in front.
The goals did not end there, but that started what would be a dominant performance by NYCFC. Early on in the second half, Rodríguez was able to score again in the 50th minute. Pereira made his way up the right side, as he often does, and made his way into the box. He saw where his teammate was running from, and sent the ball across goal. As such, Rodríguez was there, and he kicked the ball into the net with ease, both with the kick and the fact no one could stop him. It was like a home run, and a trot around the bases.
But it was the 55th minute goal by Talles Magno that was the icing on the cake. Pereira was again involved in the goal, for he maneuvered himself into the box to take the first shot. Alas, he could not get his goal, for it was saved, but rebounded right to the Brazilian winger. Magno, with no goalkeeper to worry about, just sent the ball into the back of the net, and basically told Dallas they should have focused on the match, rather than baseball.
When all was said and done, the away team did manage to get a goal after a corner kick, but New York City FC was able to hang on and get the 3-1 win.
Some things to note from the NYCFC match
New York City FC played another solid match, and there were some things that should be noted. For starters, they do need to do better with defending set pieces. The lone goal given up was from an initial corner kick, and then service toward goal led to the header from José Martínez. The goal eliminated the clean sheet, and really proved this is the biggest weakness for the Pigeons.
Additionally, the NYCFC wingers and fullbacks tend to work well together. Pereira and Mitja Ilenič, and then Magno and Braian Cufré, have connections with one another that facilitate with awareness and passing. This helps the movement on both sides of the pitch, and aids with the ability to attack from the outside. In the fixture against Dallas, the right side boys truly had some magic going on, for it was from their side of the pitch that the majority of the work rate was from.
It also must be mentioned that Rodríguez was utilized as the center-forward, or sometimes as a false nine. Of course, the entire attack moved throughout the final third, including Magno. Richard Ledezma even had moments where he was up front and center. But this decision by Nick Cushing might have been his best decision yet. The Bronx/Queens side had 21 shots, with six on target. This was undoubtedly the best offensive performance all season, and likely this will be the route to take until a striker can be signed.
In the end, an error by Dallas, and then a couple of home run goals, led to the win by New York City FC. This was a good way to end the home stand, and now the team has the biggest test of the season: four games on the road.