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New York City FC continues strong showing with 2-0 victory over Columbus Crew

Sean Johnson . Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

Following hot on the heels of the three-goal second half explosion vs. Montreal on Wednesday, Torrent would have wanted his charges to pick up right where they left off in their third home game inside a week.

However, it was Columbus who were asking all of the early questions, forcing Sean Johnson into a double save and drawing great last ditch blocks from Maxime Chanot and Alexander Callens in the first 10’.

Perhaps aided by a free midweek, The Crew continued to keep the pressure on, although City came close to taking the lead on 20’ when Callens met a Maxi Moralez corner and forced Zack Steffen into an excellent save.

That was as much as we saw from NYCFC as an attacking force in the first period, with Columbus enjoying more looks on goal, though they were unable to capitalize on the positions they found themselves in.

All in all, it was a half which was spookily similar to Wednesday’s first period with NYCFC below their best and unable to take control of the game.

Torrent’s alterations proved to be just the trick on that occasion but what would it take this time to unlock Gregg Berhalter’s stingy backline?

Moralez couldn’t have come much closer to providing an answer on 52’ when he pickpocketed the last defender and strode clear but Steffen once again came to his side’s rescue with a great parry and Jesus Medina was inches away from converting at the end of the same move.

One of the sparks from midweek, Jonathan Lewis, was introduced for Matarrita a minute later as Torrent gave the youngster his longest run-out yet under his stewardship.

The 20-year old had the Crew defense chasing his shadow on 71’ when he strode clear down the left flank and delivered for Medina who slipped through Moralez but this time it was Columbus who had the heroic last man block.

It was starting to look like this one would end with zeroes until the 80th minute when Lewis’s strike came off the post back to him and he crossed for Medina to thrash home, ending the stubborn Crew resistance.

Torrent’s men weren’t finished there, with Anton Tinnerholm bundling home the clincher in stoppage-time following a lung-busting run down the right flank.

His karate kick celebration at the corner flag sent the supporters’ section wild and capped possibly the greatest week in club history.

 

NOTES 

  • NYCFC are still unbeaten at Yankee Stadium in 2018 (W10 D1)
  • Jesus Medina scored his fourth goal for NYCFC
  • Anton Tinnerholm netted his third goal of the season (third total for NYCFC)
  • City have now kept three straight clean sheets for the first time since July 2016
  • Domènec Torrent has now won all four of his home games as NYCFC boss (and on his birthday!

QUOTES

 

NYCFC COACH DOMENEC TORRENT

 

On the mentality and effort of the team over the last 3 games…

 

Wasn’t easy, we played three games in a row in seven days. It’s difficult for us because we have players that are injured. I love this team because they have put effort into this week. They played with this intention in the second half because in the first half we were tired and we didn’t play good, they played much better than us and they deserve much more especially in the first half. We changed in the second half, our intention was to cap the connection between Higuain and Trapp because the first half we had more spaces in between the lines. it was the same with Chicago because they can play between the lines and our center backs need to set up. We changed a little in the second half, I Believe we played much better in the second half. We had some chances but they played much better than us in my opinion.

 

On how special Sean Johnson is to the team especially playing three games in a week….

 

“Sean was the best player in the first half for us, he was the best player absolutely because he was able to save our team. I repeat, they deserved more especially in the first half, we have a good goalkeeper. I’m very happy with him. He’s an amazing person. For me it’s very important when a player is like Sean. The last two games he played very well and I’m very happy for him.”

 

On motivation on the road to continue winning…

 

“We’ll see because I am happy we have gained three more points, but one day we will lose at home. It doesn’t matter about us having a record. What’s important is to win because we are gaining points. When playing games on the road I think of Chicago because we deserved more and we didn’t win it.

 

On what he can say about Jonathan Lewis’ performance…

“I said last week I’m very happy with Jonathan, but don’t forget, Jonathan plays better when our team finds spaces. Jonathan is especially a player who plays against teams who play high. It’s very important for us because you know, after that he’s a fast player. I’m very happy for him because in every single training they improve a lot and the training sessions after the session, normally Jonathan trains more to improve the cross, to improve the one-by-one and that is the reason why I’m very happy for him.”

 

NYCFC FORWARD JESUS MEDINA

 

On his goal

“It was a funny goal. First Jonathan kicked it into the post, then he dribbles forward and leaves me in a really good position to score and open up the scoreboard.”

 

On how difficult Columbus was tonight

Well the first half was kind of difficult. We were tired and it took us a long time to get warmed up they were dominating the ball, but later on we were able to organize ourselves and the in the second half we were able to keep the ball better and we were able to score the goals.”

 

On his celebration with the Paraguayan flag

“It was a very spontaneous celebration, we were all celebrating in there and then I saw my country’s flag in the stands and I went to grab it to represent my country and to show everyone what my country is.”

 

On his general thoughts of the game

It was a very tough game with a very strong opponent and we wrap up an amazing week with nine points in three games, but we have to keep on working and keep our feet on the ground to stay at the top of the table.”

 

NYCFC GOALKEEPER SEAN JOHNSON

 

On the character of the team…

 

“I said it since the first week started that it’s a group with strong character with a big will to win. This week was really important for us and everybody recognized the importance, and we’ve really just focused on getting nine points in a week where we knew we had three home games and for us it was rest, recovery, repeat. I couldn’t be more proud of the boys.”

 

On Jonathan Lewis getting opportunity…

 

“It’s great to see him get rewarded for his work ethic, his ability and the work he puts into every single day, he’s worked hard all year. Everybody realizes that and we just try to keep him going. We’ve watched him step up and he’s been a really big part of our week, if not one of the most influential parts, so it’s good to see his talent and see him getting an opportunity. Him and Kwame [Awuah], you might not see it, but they’ve been putting in the work all year, every single day these guys are coming in and working hard, so I’m happy they’re getting rewarded for it.”

 

On the team’s success despite some injuries…

 

“I’ve said this from the beginning, we’re a team that’s pretty deep and we’ve got players at every position that can contribute at any time. The beauty of this week is that we did just that, we shuffled things around, some guys played a little bit out of position in places they’re not used to, but everybody really stepped up to do their job. On the week, getting three wins and pushing ourselves up the standings with three home games at this point, that’s what you have to do. It’s a special group and I’ll be happy to have everybody healthy and we’re a force to be reckoned with.”

 

NYCFC DEFENDER ANTON TINNERHOLM

 

On collecting nine points on this 3-game week and today’s match…

 

“Yeah, perfect week. We felt tired in the first half today. We knew that we could do so much better than we did in the first half and I think Sean saved us in the first half, but we didn’t reach the level we can do, especially at home. We felt tired, but during halftime, [we said] we have to step up and at least make it a little bit more difficult for them. We played in between lines all the time and it was difficult to defend when they have time with the ball, they’re a really good team. So, we said at halftime we have to give ourselves a chance to win the game and we felt the high pressure. The second half was way better than it was in the first half and we scored the first goal as well. We stepped up in the second half.

 

On Columbus making it a difficult first half…

 

“They are a good team. We played three games in six days and they haven’t, so it felt like some legs were a little bit tired out there, but I felt we showed character, especially in the second half. Everybody was really tired but we kept on fighting and we knew that Columbus is one of the tough teams in the league. We still managed to win and I think the best thing is that we knew that we can do better than this and we’re still standing here with the three points and a clean sheet. There’s more to take.”

 

On the trend of strong second halves…

 

“Today it felt like today we played a different way in the first half than we did in the second half. It’s not a question that the car came in the second half because we played so much better in the second half. We know that we had good training and we know that teams playing here think that it’s really tough to come here. We know that if it’s still 0-0 after 70-75 minutes, we can still find a way to score goals and win the game.”

 

On his goal…

 

“Albert [Puig], the assistant coach, said I looked like Messi and I can take [the shot], that’s no problem.”

 

NYCFC MIDFIELDER KWAME AWUAH

 

On getting more minutes in the lineup this week…

 

“It feels good. Just to know that the coach believes in guys like me – not even just me but guys like Jonathan [Lewis] and Tommy [McNamara] and the guys that haven’t been playing before earlier in the season, so it feels good to get more minutes. Progression – training by training session.”

 

On what Domenec Torrent told him before coming on as a sub…

 

“He told me to just try to stay on the field to get [Federico] Higuain as tired as possible, and you saw he got subbed off in the second half. He told me to stay disciplined, to follow their key players and that’s what I did. And when in possession, stay positioned and disciplined and try to keep the ball.”

 

On the halftime adjustments in today’s game…

 

“It was just keeping the tempo. A lot of guys played a lot of minutes in the past week, so just getting some fresh legs out there and continuing the game plan. We all knew what we had to do once we came in and [Torrent] was able to lead us in the right direction.”

 

NYCFC DEFENDER ALEXANDER CALLENS

 

On having to defend the opponent’s main striker…

 

“Yeah, that’s something we talk about in training. It’s been a short week, but we know he’s a strong player who is very good in the box but we have to stay focused and work hard.”

 

On the changes needed in order to start off as strong as they closed…

 

“Well, we knew Columbus is a very technical team who creates chances in the middle and we just tried to avoid that and close them down and I think it worked well.”

 

NYCFC FORWARD JONATHAN LEWIS

 

On the team scoring late goals in the last three games at home…

 

“We play like it’s a fortress where no one can just come in and beat us, so we’re just working hard and working on our fitness so we can get an extra boost at the end of the game and get these late goals. We also played against some very strong teams that defended well against us, but we just needed something to break the deadlock at the end of the game.”

 

On improving at reading the game…

 

“I’ve been reacting and not waiting, before I felt like I was waiting around, but they told me with the ability you have, you have to start reading and not reacting, and then your abilities will come, so on the goal there, just coming inside, being in the right spot and reading, I was able to react to get my own miss, and then go and get the assist.”

 

On tonight’s assist and seeing Jesus Medina in the play…

 

I was right there when I got the rebound, so when I shot it again he was right in front of me. I knew he [Medina] was going to come out and come hard, so that’s why I was able to just slip him in there.”

 

On the pressure leading to the goal…

 

“Yeah, I knew to move in that space right there in the pocket, because Will Trapp normally goes into that space so I knew I needed to come inside but he just misplaced the pass and I was just there.”

 

COLUMBUS CREW SC HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER

On how he hopes to move on from here, not having had a road win since May 19:

“I think we’re obviously disappointed with the result of the game tonight. We had an idea of what the game would look like and were executing pretty well and it’s disappointing to not get any result, but I think you sometimes have to step back and look at the performance. I was pleased with the performance. I think the guys did well. They did what we asked them to do. They put it all out there. They competed. We created a good number of goal-scoring opportunities so, this is one of the situations in my mind that we’ll focus more on the performance than the result.”

On what changed in the second half that allowed NYCFC to get more chance and ultimately pull through:

“I think they were playing more direct. You don’t usually see NYCFC playing like that. It was getting the ball into wide areas and then playing it directly up front. They had four guys on the line and that gave us a little trouble. For us, the question was, do we continue to high press or do we drop off and give them more of the ball. In this particular case, I felt we’d be able to withstand it, make some adjustments and we could win the duals when the long balls were played in. For the most part, it was successful and then we gave the goal away – decent pressure, but not too much pressure to lose the ball and that hurts. I don’t even know what minute it was, but it was pretty late – 80, somewhere around there – so that hurt us.”

 

COLUMBUS CREW SC GOALKEEPER ZACK STEFFEN

 

On creating chances, but not capitalizing…

 

“It’s definitely frustrating. We go the whole game and we played a good game, and the guys in front of me worked really hard. In the first half we moved the ball really well and we had spurts in the second half where we did the same, and then maybe if we finished a chance or two then the game is a little different, but I’m proud of the guys and how hard they worked in front of me.”

 

On struggles…

“I think we just got to get back to our ways and find our mentality and just keep grinding. I mean, life isn’t always going to be perfect, it’s not always going to be ups and positivity, you’ve got to go through adversity to get better and to get stronger.”

 

On coming home to Mapfre Stadium…

 

“It’ll be good to get back at home and get in front of our fans and get another week of training in. We’ll be confident going into that next game after the performance we had today, even though we didn’t get the points and it’ll be good to be back in Columbus.”

 

COLUMBUS CREW SC MIDFIELDER WIL TRAPP

 

On NYCFC scoring 2 goals on takeaways...

 

“I mean that’s the way we play. We know it’s going to happen at times. It’s unfortunate that it came at the moment that it did. I thought that for most of the first half we played well, second half we were a little bit more nervy but still we created a lot of chances we just weren’t clinical enough. Mistakes happen and that’s part of the game.”

 

On Columbus not being able to score goals with so many shot attempts…

 

“I think for us is taking the positives from it. We know we have to improve in that area. We know that this is is a good team too. The games are hard and it’s difficult to win in this league. It’s fine margins and we were on the wrong side of it today”

 

On team getting out of current slump…

 

“We are close. Like I said it’s a fine line. There’s margins here that maybe if we score one in the first half the game is completely different. It’s just continuing to work in training and find ways to score goals.”

For more information on New York City FC and for tickets to upcoming matches fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://www.nycfc.com

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