New York City FC visited D.C. United for an Easter Sunday showdown at Audi Field looking for their first victory of 2019 against the early Eastern Conference pacesetters.
The last time these two teams met for City’s Home Opener, both teams left Yankee Stadium with one point apiece after a goalless draw but the Boys in Blue were coming in off a much-improved performance in the 3-3 draw against Minnesota United last weekend.
Héber came in for his first start up front in place of the injured Taty Castellanos, while Alexandru Mitriță was also restored to the lineup, replacing Ismael Tajouri-Shradi as Dome Torrent fielded a 3-5-2 formation, with Anton Tinnerholm and Ronald Matarrita providing the width.
Héber and Mitri were lively from the start, and the Romanian only just missed an attempt after cutting inside on 10’ with a curling strike from the edge of the box which had Bill Hamid scrambling across his line.
That set the tone for a dominant road team, who played the majority of the 90’ inside the D.C. half, well in the ascendancy.
After a series of near-misses, NYC finally scored the goal their dominance had earned on 35′ through Mitriță, who banked it into the back of the net from Héber’s assist for his second goal for the Club.
It was a tidy finish, with the Romanian finding squeezing the ball between Hamid’s outstretched palm and the inside of the post.
Before going into the half Leonardo Jara committed a foul on Anton Tinnerholm, resulting in a penalty kick, meaning Dome Torrent’s men had a great chance to go in 2-0 up but, unfortunately, Maxi Moralez’s spot-kick found the outside of the post.
NYCFC kept up their dominance after the interval and struck again 10 minutes into the second period.
This time it was Héber who scored his first goal in his first start for the City. The striker rifled it in emphatically from an acute angle after a lovely lofted through ball from Matarrita, making it 2-0 to the Road Blues.
There were more chances for second half substitute Jonathan Lewis and Moralez in the remaining minutes and Matarrita hit the post, but NYC would go back to the Big Apple content with a dominant, exciting 2-0 road win over the Eastern Conference leaders.
Next up, Chicago Fire visits Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night as NYCFC looks to string together consecutive victories and climb up the standings.
New York City FC Head Coach Domènec Torrent
On the result..
“Today, [we] deserved to win this game because I know how hard they work every single day at our facility.”
“I am sure we signed the right player. If you want to play him in the spaces, it’s good news for New York City. I am very happy for him because he’s a good player and he’s a good guy.”
On having the confidence of his players…
“I am sure I have the confidence of my players because every day they show me how hard they train and how much confidence in my staff they have.”
On playing away from home…
“I remember last year we had many problems when we played away. That changed and right now I am very happy, especially for our supporters because I know how important it is for them.”
New York City FC Forward Héber
On his first goal…
“It’s important to be confident because always the chances come. When the chances come you need to be ready to score.”
On how he’s feeling after his first start
“This is my first game this year so I feel tired. I need to learn [the league]. Tactically, it’s different. I need a few more games to be in good shape and be [the player] they saw in Croatia.”
On relationship with Maxi Moralez and Alexandru Mitriță
“When you play with players with quality, it is easy.”
New York City FC Defender Anton Tinnerholm
On the pressure to win:
“Of course, everyone knows that we haven’t won, and it’s our first win so we’re happy. I think if you look at our defense [tonight], that’s the best in four months since I arrived back here. We know they have a lot of quality players, especially in [Luciano] Acosta and [Wayne] Rooney. They didn’t score, and we scored. That’s pretty much it.
On playing best game of the season so far…
I think today we showed the way [Dome] wants to play and finally we got a win…Now it’s an even more important game on Wednesday and I think we have to look at this game… and it shows the character of the players.”
“It’s important that he’s able to keep the ball upfront and it’s important for the team when we’re on the pressure and he keeps the ball moving forward. I think of course it’s important for him on the team that he scores but if you look at the 90 minutes he played like 60 minutes but he did a real solid performance and especially the way he’s keeping the ball up front it’s important for the team.”
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