Two first-half goals give NYCFC first road win of the season

NYCFC vs. D.C. United
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Washington D.C. — Two first-half goals give NYCFC an away win over D.C. United, dropping Chad Ashton’s squad out of playoff position and pushing Ronny Deila’s into second place in the East.

Two first-half goals give NYCFC an early advantage

D.C. United created the first opportunity of the match as Ola Kamara played a perfect pass into the path of Edison Flores driving towards goal in the 2nd minute. With Flores stopping on a dime, he’d send a pass across to Brad Smith, just touched by a defender. After quickly settling the ball, a heave from Smith would just skim the post opposite Sean Johnson with the second chance cross floated away by Flores.

Following this would be NYCFC with a 5th minute corner played short by Santiago Rodríguez, to the feet of Chris Gloster. With one touch and a cross, Gloster would find Alexander Callens near post for a powerful header that couldn’t be kept out giving the Pigeons a 1-0 lead.

D.C. went back on the offensive in the 13th minute as Brendan Hines-Ike received the ball on the wing. With Hines-Ike hitting a low cross, the ball deflected off Gloster’s foot finding Flores inside the box. A backward pass to Sofiane Djeffal at the edge of the area would result in a one-time shot, again ricochetting off the post and cleared away.

Things would settle until the 45th minute when Thiago Andrade won the ball on a D.C. goal kick and found an open Rodríguez. Dribbing into space, Rodríguez played a great pass to Talles Magno now one-on-one with Rafael Romo. Magno, with one touch and a heavy shot, would be saved by a drive from Romo knocked for a corner.

On the corner, Rodríguez would find Alfredo Morales at the near post for an awkward flick to Keaton Parks headed just wide of goal. Without any appeal from NYCFC, the corner was taken to VAR and ruled a handball on D.C.’s Hines-Ike. The penalty, taken by Valentín Castellanos, was chipped in to give NYCFC a 2-0 advantage at halftime.

 

Second-half push from DC doesn’t prevail

The opening 30 minutes of the second half were fairly quiet until around the 76th minute when D.C. United unleashed their attack for a second-half push. With the rain starting to fall, D.C. would earn a corner opportunity taken by substitute Julian Gressel and hit to the back post. Flying in and rising to meet the ball would be Steve Birnbaum, knocking a header off Alexander Callens, and forcing a diving save from Johnson. 

 

They would follow this in the 81st minute as Nigel Robertha played a pinpoint pass to Taxiarchis Fountas breaking from the right-wing towards goal. Fountas one-on-one with Johnson and NYCFC defenders chasing would bend a shot just beyond the far post on what seemed a sure goal for the Greek striker.

D.C.’s last opportunity would come winning a free kick in the 89th minute and again Gressel lining up to take it. Firing a cross from distance, Gressel picked out a breaking Donovan Pines just ahead of the pack of defenders who dove to reach with a header but put the ball wide of goal.

Last Word: All around a solid performance from NYCFC

To travel away to Audi Field and come out dominating the first half was great to see from NYCFC who could have had three or four goals with all the corners they almost scored from. Rounding it out with a defensive second half and limiting D.C. to zero shots on goal the entire match chalks it up to an all-around performance from the Pigeons. That being said, D.C. had some great opportunities to end the game and probably should have capitalized as NYCFC slacked somewhat in the last 10+ minutes. 

New York City heads home at the weekend to take on the Chicago Fire at Citi Field and will be without Taty Castellanos due to yellow card accumulation while D.C. United will take on Toronto FC this Saturday at Audi Field.

 

 

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