New York City FC returned home to the Bronx to celebrate Brooklyn Borough Night and take on the Houston Dynamo.
As City looked to defeat the Dynamo at home for the first time in their short five seasons Dome Torrent made numerous changes to his Starting XI after the road defeat to RSL last weekend.
Eric Miller and Gary Mackay-Steven made their first NYCFC starts since joining the Club a few weeks prior, while Alex Callens, Jesus Medina, and Keaton Parks also made their returns to the XI.
NYCFC kicked off the match as a dominant force by maintaining possession and creating chances in the final third.
Thanks to Jesus Medina’s fancy footwork, an incisive passing move and Alexandru Mitriță’s finishing touch, NYCFC took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
Medina, Héber and Mitri fought through Houston’s heavy defending with some stunning interplay and the Romanian was able to finish it off from inside the box for his sixth goal of the season.
Ten minutes later, the Dynamo responded with a goal from Juan Cabezas on an assist from the returning hometown hero, Tommy McNamara.
McNamara made his return to Yankee Stadium for the first time since his departure in 2018, and once again he made his presence felt on the pitch. Only this time it was for the opponents, tying the game up 1-1.
Before halftime, NYCFC was in the hunt to regain the lead, and they almost had it. Keaton Parks tore through the Dynamo’s defense squaring up with Houston’s ‘keeper, Tyler Deric. His shot from the center of the box was unfortunately stopped by a full-body save by the onrushing Deric.
Both team’s returned to the locker room to wait out an hour-long rain delay, before returning for another 45-minute brawl.
Squared up at 1-1, Torrent made his first substitution of the night calling upon Taty Castellanos to take the place of Eric Miller in an attempt to put his power into the attack.
It would be a fateful change, but first NYCFC gave themselves a mountain to climb.
Mauro Manotas put Houston ahead for the first time in the night in the 77th minute, giving the visitors an unlikely lead with a long-range effort on a rare counter-attack.
Luckily, Torrent’s decision to put Taty on paid off when his team needed it the most. In the 83rd minute, the Argentine found himself in the middle of the box with his back turned to the goal. He received a pass from Keaton Parks and headed the ball behind him for his sixth goal of the year, and City’s first headed goal of the season.
NYCFC was back in the hunt for the lead as both teams were tied up 2-2, but Taty wasn’t done yet.
On a cross from Matarrita, Taty headed the ball towards goal again but this time Deric made the save. However, the Argentine would not be denied, forcing the ball over the line on the rebound to send the stadium into raptures.
We’re back in our New York Groove!
New York City FC Head Coach Doménec Torrent
On getting the win against Houston…
“We had to win the game. We needed the result. We were able to create opportunities. When you are in the key moment in the game you have to score. Even when it was 1-0, we had opportunities to go 2-0 three or four times and then after that [Houston] created two opportunities and they scored two goals. We were able to get the result and I am very happy about that. I say to my players, be careful, because when you have the opportunities you have to score. I am very happy because we came back and we fought until the last moment.”
On Castellanos’ performance in the match…
“I said to Taty during halftime–10 minutes in he will play. I think Taty plays much better when he is a striker. He has this quality. Right now, I am very happy with him because everybody deserves to play but he showed me in training that he has the desire to play every single game. He is a fighter. This year he has improved a lot.”
On Maxi being able to play 15 minutes…
“I spoke with Maxi before the game and he told me he is ready for 15-20 minutes. He is ready for the next game against Atlanta. Everybody knows how important he is for us. When he plays, the team plays different. He can score. We play with more confidence when Maxi is on the field. When he told he was ready for 15-20 minutes I said if we are able to win the game you will stay on the bench. If not, you will have to play.”
On the mental toughness of the team…
“The most important thing tonight is the team’s fight until the last moment. We have confidence for the next game because when that happens, you know exactly that you are able to come back. The next game is a tough game for both teams, not just New York City. We have to recover well.”
New York City FC Midfielder Keaton Parks
On how big tonight’s win was and getting three points…
“It was a big win. Every win is big especially here in Yankee Stadium. It would have been disappointing if we lost. In the first half we were dominating them, we gave up a lead goal and the second goal as well. We just had some defensive mistakes. We deserved the win overall and it was big for us.”
What Valentin Castellanos bought to tonight’s match off the bench…
“All the guys on the bench are always ready to come in and do their part. Taty [Castellanos] had a huge game tonight, obviously came in and scored two goals for us and got us the win. It’s important, all the players work hard every day in training and are always ready to come in off the bench. That’s exactly what he did.”
New York City FC Forward Valentin Castellanos
On Dome’s message when coming onto the field…
“To stay over in middle, and play in between the two center backs, and to stay with Hèber and the chances would come.”
On his message to the fans…
“The fans were incredible, like I always say, there is not enough words to thank the fans. Here at home and when they travel away as well its incredible. Even though the weather wasn’t great, they stayed and well this victory is also for them.”
New York City FC Defender Eric Miller
On making his NYCFC debut…
“It was great. It’s a really good group of guys and a very experienced coaching staff, so it’s really easy to integrate myself within the team. We have a lot of quality players, so it’s really easy to play with these guys. I just try to do my job and let them shine through.”
On his preferred position…
“I think one of the best things about my game is that I’m pretty flexible. I can play right back, left back, center back, wing back, I can kind of do it all. Especially within this team, it’s good to have guys that are tactically flexible.”
On bouncing back after a tough loss…
“In my six years in MLS, the good teams I’ve been on have always been the ones that respond well to adversity. Obviously, we didn’t have a good result in Salt Lake, but we came back home and had our quality shine through. We didn’t play great, but we got three points, and that’s what good teams do.”
Houston Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera
On what to take away from today’s game…
“First, on behalf of the club and the team that I am the head coach, we apologize. Not only to the New York City FC fans, but also to the referees, and the people that came to the stadium that are fans of our club, because that behavior, we cannot tolerate that. It will not happen again because that is against the game. We came to play soccer. We did not come to fight and be superheroes or super machos. That is not what we practice and that is not what we work on. That is not the way we work in our team. It has happened, it is the second time and it will not happen again. I promise that to the league, to the referees, to the fans, to the game, because that is not right.
On positives to take away tonight…
“Sometimes things happen, but we do not practice what happened today in the first half. Anyway, we took responsibility and tried to play and scored a goal very well. Then, they were very good. They were pushing, pushing, pushing and we could not hold the attack in the end and they scored one more goal than us.
Houston Dynamo Midfielder Juan Cabezas
On playing down a man…
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the points, but no matter what, the team did [its] best. We ran and we tried to play, but we couldn’t get the results. The reality is really sad because, for me personally, we deserved the win.”
Finding their rhythm after having two players score…
“If we played like this with 11 guys we would probably play even better and beat the teams. With the attitude and with that effort, we take the power with 10 men against one of the top teams in the MLS. They played very well and they did very good combinations.”
On missed goal…
“Well honestly it’s really sad because I feel like the team did a good job. We ran, tried to fight and play. Afterwards we know what happened. I’m not going to go into details but we are simply trying to have our head up high and we are trying to win the game. Now we are focusing on our next game which is very important.”
Houston Dynamo Midfielder Tommy McNamara
On giving up two late goals…
“It’s very disappointing, to one, go down a man so early in the game and two, to fight for whatever it is 60 minutes. To have 10 minutes left up 2-1, and to give so much, sacrifice so much and to then come away with nothing…it’s a tough pill to swallow. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, wasn’t for a lack of commitment, but it’s a tough way to end it.
On how team could have protected the lead…
“You know, we need to be better at seeing out games. It’s been a problem of ours the whole season, seeing out games, seeing out results, we need to do a better job of keeping the ball when we have it so that the other team is not dangerous. We need to do a better job of, everything really, denying entry balls and crosses into the box, and then dealing with those when they do get there.”
On the Dynamo’s playoff hunt…
“We need points. We are right there in the playoff hunt, but obviously we’re on the outside looking in. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot, unfortunately we did that today. We had to play with 10 men for three quarters of the game….When you do that, it’s always going to be a really tough ask to get anything out of the game. It is what it is. We’ve got to move past it and we’ve got to get focused and ready for Sunday. We need to take something away from these two road games and we got nothing tonight.”
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