New York City FC embarked on their first-ever trip to Minnesota with their passport to the MLS Playoffs freshly-stamped following a 2-0 midweek win over Chicago.
Domènec Torrent made five changes to his lineup, bringing in Eloi Amagat, Jo Inge Berget, Alexander Callens, Valentin Castellanos and Sebastien Ibeagha.
Facing off against a Minnesota side who proved their moxie with a ten-man 3-2 win over Portland last weekend, NYCFC could sure up home field advantage in the Playoffs with a victory and they made a strong start towards it with a couple of early chances.
Fielded in a more advanced role in the absence of the rested Maxi Moralez, Alex Ring was lively early on, linking up with Berget eye-catchingly on a couple of occasions, with Jo Inge pulling a shot a foot wide on 12′ from a pass by the Finn.
Taty Castellanos threatened on 14′ with a sighter from range but it was the hosts who took the lead on 20′ through Angelo Rodriguez who headed in at the back post unchecked from a deep cross by Ibarra on a breakaway.
On 33′, Berget believed he’d been impeded in the penalty area and that the referee should have pointed to the spot but the strong appeals were turned away and the officials did not seek video review.
Three minutes later, the Loons’ advantage was doubled after Rodriguez capitalized on a wayward back pass, allowing the Minnesota no.9 to beat Sean Johnson to the ball and tap into the empty net.
It was a flattering scoreline but it gave Torrent’s men a mountain to climb in the second half.
Tajouri-Shradi forced Bobby Shuttleworth into a save with a long-range free-kick on 52′ and Berget went close with a diving header from a wicked Castellanos cross on 60′, as City improved after the interval.
Rodney Wallace was brought into the game for Ring on 72′ and he went close with his first touch, attempting a bicycle kick from a New York set-piece, seconds after his introduction.
In the space of a dramatic minute, Jesus Medina made his long-awaited return from injury and Adrian Heath’s Minnesota were reduced to ten men following an ugly challenge on Amagat resulted in a red card for Collen Warner.
City finally forced the ball into the net in stoppage-time when Wallace bundled home his first goal of the season but there was no time for an equalizer.
- Torrent made five changes to his lineup, bringing in Amagat, Berget, Callens, Castellanos and Ibeagha
- This was NYCFC’s first trip to Minnesota and the second-ever meeting between the clubs
- Rodney Wallace scored his first goal of the 2018 season
- Minnesota defeated NYCFC for the first time
- City remains third in the Eastern Conference, five points clear of Columbus Crew SC
We had 70 % percent of the ball. In the first half we controlled all the time, but we made two mistakes, which happens in soccer and we paid for out mistakes. Maybe the second half we created more chances, but we controlled the ball well in the first half. I’m disappointed by the result, not by the game. Maybe this was the best game that New York City played away, maybe. My opinion today, is that New York City played really well here in Minnesota. Minnesota played aggressively with us. At the end, we lost the game. That’s not good for us. The performance for me was good. Better than Montreal where we drew the game, and tonight where we lost. It’s not easy to explain to people and our fans what happened. I prefer to always talk about what happened on the field, not the result. Because the result is easy. You win the game, it’ okay. You lose the game, everything is wrong.
NEW YORK CITY FOOTBALL CLUB FORWARD RODNEY WALLACE
Overall thoughts on the match…
“I thought we started off doing the right things. I thought that in the first half we were a bit unlucky with how things went. I thought we followed the game plan and played our style of football. We knocked the ball around and created our chances. Unfortunately, they capitalized on the few chances they had in the first half. It was difficult for us to climb back. When we came out of the locker room, we never lost hope and knew if we got another goal we were going to press them and put their backs against the wall and try to tie the game. We can build from this.”
On getting first goal of the season…
“It felt good. Personally, it’s always a relief to score your first goal. It was more of a collected effort. I thought that it was important for us to fight and continue to stay positive despite the result. I’m very pleased with the effort that the guys put in.”
On what the team needs to do to prepare for playoffs…
“First we have to recharge our batters and then we have to fine tune the small details on each side of the ball. In order for us to do that we have to stay calm and focused and see the bigger picture. In order to see the bigger picture, we have to fix those little details that will get us to as close to perfect as possible.”
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