HARRISON, NJ – After the announcement that NYCFC had clinched a spot in the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday night, the club pulled off a 2-1 comeback in New Jersey the very next day against Orlando City securing a first-round match at home for their upcoming Championship defense.
Three points ✅
First Round home game ✅ pic.twitter.com/DgfpWIjqVK
— New York City Football Club (@NYCFC) October 2, 2022
NYCFC Clinch Playoff Spot Before a Comeback Win
Marking consecutive wins for NYCFC in all competitions, it’ll be reassuring for fans to have officially clinched that playoff spot after a rough 10-game stretch for the club which saw just 5 points from 10 matches. Furthermore, going down to Orlando and managing a second-half comeback behind goals from Alexander Callens and Talles Magno shows this team’s resilience as they look to continue building momentum heading towards the Playoffs.
With the pieces and tactics finally starting to click under interim head coach Nick Cushing, NYCFC will surely be a club to watch out for in this year’s MLS Cup battle but whether they’ll be able to maintain the consistency of their recent performance will be the big question for these Pigeons.
Callens continues to shine for NYCFC
Putting on another strong performance on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball for NYCFC was once again Alexander Callens who notched the game-tying goal for his third in three games before contributing to a shutdown of Orlando throughout the rest of the second half.
No doubt the defensive line has been vastly improved in recent weeks settling into a more consistent back-four of Callens, Maxime Chanot, Thiago Martins, and Tayvon Gray in front of Sean Johnson. But the leader of this quartet has become Callens who’s been a major difference maker in the previous three wins for NYCFC.
As he showed last season, Callens staying healthy and in form will be a major key for the Pigeons in their playoff run especially with a depleted defensive force on the roster.
The Midfield/Wings are Looking Strong
Between some great passing from Maxi Moralez and Gabriel Pereira, line-breaking runs from Santiago Rodríguez, a game-winning goal from Magno, and a returning Keaton Parks, the midfield and wings were a highlight throughout much of yesterday’s second half.
And despite Callens producing three goals in the last three you’ve also had great production in front of goal from this midfield/wings grouping over the last three where we’ve seen Moralez, Rodríguez, and once again Magno all contribute goals to a respective win.
When the midfield and wingers are moving and playing well together it’s easy to see with fluid passing and chemistry and right now this club is showing exactly that as Cushing and company are seemingly beginning to figure things out jointly.
Last Word: The Title Defense Starts Now
While it was for the most part always likely, now that NYCFC has clinched a playoff spot and a first-round matchup on home turf the club needs to continue building momentum if they truly want to have a shot at repeating. Scheduled to take on Atlanta United on Sunday, Oct. 9, it won’t present the biggest challenge for these Pigeons but it’s an opportunity to set the tone for this title defense with another consecutive win now directly before playoff time.