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NOTES & QUOTES: New York City FC 2 – 2 Los Angeles FC

NYCFC welcomed LAFC to the Bronx for the first time aiming for that first W of the season following draws vs. Orlando and D.C.

It marked the second meeting between the sides, following the 2-2 tie at Banc of California Stadium in 2018.

Dome Torrent made two changes to his line-up, bringing in Ronald Matarrita and Ebenezer Ofori in place of Ben Sweat and Jesus Medina.

NYCFC came out ready to play but their intensity was met with similar energy from LAFC, making for a tight, cagey but competitive opening 30’ with few clear chances to score.

Sean Johnson, coming off a huge game against D.C. United showed up again on St Patrick’s Day, as Carlos Vela took a shot in the 29” minute that was knocked up over the crossbar by the U.S. international. The critical save kept the game scoreless, giving NYCFC a chance to retaliate.

When the opening goal came, it was one of the highest quality from a new Bronx hero in the 39th minute…

Mitriță broke through the LAFC defense down the left side and strode clear, cutting back onto his strong foot and firing an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.

It was the Romanian’s first goal for his new Club and he almost had another two minutes later when his free-kick came back off the top of the crossbar with Tyler Miller beaten.

Sadly, City’s lead would last only until the 43rd minute when Carlos Vela hit back on the counter to make it 1-1 on the stroke of half-time.

The fight didn’t stop there, the intensity continued into the second half.

Ben Sweat was introduced as a second half substitute and he made an almost-immediate impact, creating the second NYCFC goal of the match for his captain.

Sweat never gave up chasing the ball down to the goal line, winning it back and pulling it across goal for The Ringleader to do the rest, as he fired into the top corner for his fourth goal for the Club.

The race to the finish was on, both teams went back and forth – LAFC desperate to find the equalizer and NYCFC to seal their first win of the season.

Maxi Moralez set up an opportunity to score with a cross to Ring who headed for goal but Miller was there to make a good save.

With City in the ascendancy looking for a third, there was a sting in the tail as Sweat felled Blessing to give Vela the opportunity to score his second from the spot in the 76th minute.

The Mexican did the rest, sending Johnson the wrong way to tie up the game at 2-2.

That was how it stayed, meaning City had to be content with a third draw from the opening three games of the season.

QUOTES

NYCFC Head Coach Domènec Torrent

On NYCFC giving up an equalizer after scoring each of their goals today…

“Iin the first half when we were able to score in the last five minutes [of the first half], we have to take control of the game and keep the ball. And we made a mistake. We lose the ball and Vela is an amazing player and he’s a top player for MLS and they scored… Even the top teams when they win, the first thing is to keep control and play with confidence. But if you are able to score it’s easier for us after that to play and we need to score more goals. In the first half, maybe, we can score three goals, we deserve three goals, [for LAFC], maybe one or two. But I repeat, I know it’s not good because when you draw the game at home, it’s not a good result for us. But if you ask me about the performance, I think we played well.”

On forward Alexandru Mitriță scoring his first goal…

“Mitriță is a top player for us. He’s a good player, that is the reason why the Club decided to sign this player. And we need to sign the right player… I’m sure [he will grow] the next two or three games because it’s not easy for him when right here, right now, he’s not 100% fit. But you know when he has the ball we are better.”

NYCFC Forward Alexandru Mitriță

On scoring his first goal for NYCFC…

“It feels good for my first goal at home, but the result is not so good for us, but we have time. We have so many games left so we have time to learn from mistakes.”

On the comfort level with teammates…

“Yes, after three games I’m better, but I need a bit more time to be 100%. But I have a lot of games left to get to 100%.”

On what the team is missing in order to win…

“Yes, we need games because we just started, it’s only been three games so have time to get better and with the international break we must come back stronger.”

NYCFC Midfielder Alex Ring

On improvements thus far this season…

“It’s the theme of the MLS since I’ve been here, it always takes three to four games to get into the rhythm. We have gotten better game by game but it’s disappointing to lead twice and give up points a home.”

On having more freedom in the midfield to score goals…

“It gives me freedom to play higher, I have done that before in my career. I play where the coach puts on me and I try to do my best, try to find spaces for myself. I try to work off Maxi wherever he is, if he drops down, I try to fill his position and other way around. I think it has gotten better and better, game by game.”

Thoughts on teammate Alexandru Mitriță…

“I told him, he’s a young kid, he’s going to need time to acclimate himself, but you can see his quality and I think it’s important (for a player like him) to score.”

NYCFC Defender Maxime Chanot

On how NYCFC has done so far this season…

“We have been attacking very hard since the beginning of the season. We got three draws, we are disappointed because we only earned three points, but when we look [at the season so far], we did score goals and we didn’t concede too much expect that mistake we made today… I know it’s disappointing for our fans because they expect us to win at home, but we didn’t lose so it’s the good part of the games we played.”

LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley

On if this match was similar to last time NYCFC and LAFC met…

It is impossible to be similar, because of the factors with fields. So it makes for such a different kind of game. Overall, I think that we handled it pretty well, certainly not our best day of football, but you need a mentality to deal with different factors and I thought that was a plus.

On problems NYCFC caused for LAFC…

They have some good ideas on how to play on this field. They used Moralez today as a false 9, they found him and had guys running off of him. They did a good job of overloading our right side with Mitriță, obviously playing out on that side. Some of it is still that the ball turns over quickly, in terms of trying to control the game where you connect enough passes, that was pretty hard. I thought we adjusted well at halftime and had a good push in the second half.

On Carlos Vela’s form…

Carlos is such an important player, and what I really like is in certain situations now, he is on the move more. Last year there were times, especially in the second half of the year, he would come back he wouldn’t play simple enough and he would end up just wrestling with defenders and wasting energy far away from the goal. As a team I think we have improved the way we move the ball, our attacking ideas get better and then were able to get him the ball more on the move. He also makes better decisions when it is not the right time to try dribble, for me those are positives.

LAFC Defender Jordan Harvey

Thoughts on the match…

“It’s just a difficult game. All conditions aside, they’ve got some good players that can get in tight spaces. And that’s what they did. But we always knew that with our attackers with the chances that we’re creating that we could get back in the game. So we’re very confident in there.”

Impact of the weather on the match…

“Guys have played in these conditions. It wasn’t freezing. It was cold but it wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s MLS. There’s conditions everywhere you go. We’ll go somewhere down south in the summertime and that’ll be difficult as well so you just deal with it.”

On LAFC supporters at Yankee Stadium...

“It’s amazing. I was surprised to see how many were up there. I’d like to know the numbers but we could hear them from the moment we stepped on the pitch until the end, so we really appreciate it.”

LAFC Forward Carlos Vela

On coming back twice from a deficit today…

Well I think it was not the best day in terms of the way we play or the way we control the game but always positive to get points on the road. Even more on this field and in cold weather so I think the team coming back twice from a not really good position meant we never give up and in the end one point each is fine.

On scoring twice today for LAFC…

I am trying to be the leader of this team, and in situations like that on not good days and not good moments, I have to be there for my team. So I am working hard to improve every day and I am trying to show every game that I am at a high level.

On LAFC away support today at Yankee Stadium…

I think they come on a long flight, always supporting the team so we say thank you. Thank you for being there and being a part of this club. I hope they enjoyed the game.

For more information on NYCFC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://www.nycfc.com/

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