New York City FC backed up their Campeones Cup triumph with a much-needed 2-0 win over Hudson River Derby rivals New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Despite lifting another trophy in the week, the Pigeons have been in freefall, taking just five points from their previous 10 MLS games.
However, confidence was clearly flowing and after less than a minute, NYCFC were already 1-0 in front as Alexander Callens – who opened the scoring against Atlas in mid-week – scored from close range after Santiago Rodriguez flicked on a Maxi Moralez corner.
Rodriguez would turn from provider to scorer in the 23rd minute, bullying Lewis Morgan at the far post and applying an easy finish from another recycled Moralez set-piece.
The Red Bulls thought they’d pulled one back in the 37th minute when Elias Manoel picked up the rebound from an Aaron Long header, firing the ball beyond Sean Johnson. However, a VAR review showed that both Long and Manoel were offside, leaving RBNY with a mountain to climb in the second half.
In reality, they never even looked like taking the first uphill steps, let alone scaling that peak, registering just one shot on target throughout the match, and being outclassed by their local rivals.
That said, RBNY remain in third place and safe in the home Playoffs spots, while NYCFC have moved just one point behind with this victory.
Read on for full player ratings from Yankee Stadium:
GK: Sean Johnson – 6/10 – A couple of nervous moments but managed to get the job done.
RB: Tayvon Gray – 5/10 – A quiet afternoon. Wasn’t tested defensively and didn’t offer too much going forward.
CB: Thiago Martins – 6/10 – About as easy an afternoon as you could hope for.
CB: Maxime Chanot – 7/10 – Excellent on the ball and got through his defensive work without fuss.
LB: Alexander Callens – 9/10 – Had a goal and a goalline clearance within 11 minutes and didn’t let up from there. Always a threat from set-pieces and solid defensively.
CM: Nicolas Acevedo – 7/10 – Cleaned up almost every loose ball that crossed his path and kept NYCFC ticking.
CM: Maxi Moralez – 7/10 – A little quieter than usual from open play but caused no end of trouble from set-pieces.
RW: Gabriel Pereira – 7/10 – Provided the assist for Rodriguez’s goal and looked dangerous throughout the first half before running out of steam.
CAM: Santiago Rodriguez – 9/10 – Provided a clever flick for Callens’ opener and the finishing touch to make it 2-0 inside 23 minutes. Dropped off after that but had already done his part.
LW: Kevin O’Toole – 7/10 – Played an important tactical role with his positioning down the left flank, even if he didn’t directly influence things too much.
ST: Talles Magno – 5/10 – A quiet afternoon by his own standards but still worked hard.
SUB: Justin Haak (62′, for Pereira) – 6/10 – Added energy and endeavor after Pereira started to slow down.
SUB: Thiago Andrade (72′, for Magno) – 5/10 – Didn’t get into the game.
SUB: Keaton Parks (87′, for Acevedo) – N/A – Nice to see him back on the field again.
GK: Carlos Coronel – 5/10 – Couldn’t really do much to stop the goals.
RB: Kyle Duncan – 6/10 – Kept extremely busy defensively but did well. However, that meant he was limited going forward.
CB: Sean Nealis – 4/10 – Wasteful with the ball and didn’t get to grips with NYCFC’s fluid attack.
CB: Aaron Long – 5/10 – Did okay in the air but was out of position on a number of occasions and lacked the pace to recover.
LB: John Tolkin – 6/10 – Extremely aggressive in his duels. Mostly effective but often lunged in a little too quick, allowing an easy dribble.
CM: Daniel Edelman – 5/10 – A real comedown from his recent run of good form, just didn’t get going at all.
CM: Cristian Casseres Jr – 7/10 – Was probably RBNY’s best player, pressing hard and trying his luck with a few shots. Always looked to make things happen.
RW: Caden Clark – 2/10 – Completed just seven passes. Wouldn’t have known he was playing until he was subbed out.
CAM: Luquinhas – 3/10 – Drowned out by a disciplined, hard-working NYCFC midfield, nowhere near as effective as usual.
LW: Lewis Morgan – 3/10 – Had a couple of dangerous bursts forward but cannot be forgiven for being bullied by Rodriguez on the second goal.
ST: Elias Manoel – 2/10 – Had a goal disallowed for offside but was non-existent in an attacking sense otherwise. Let Callens go too easily for the opener.
SUB: Tom Barlow (67′, for Manoel) – 5/10 – Slightly more effective than Manoel, though the bar wasn’t set very high.
SUB: Omir Fernandez (67′, for Clark) – 5/10 – A similar story here though, again, Clark didn’t exactly set a high standard.
SUB: Andres Reyes (81′, for Luquinhas) – N/A – No time to influence the game.
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