NYCFC knock off Seattle Sounders 3-0, extending unbeaten run to 12 games
Maxi Moralez, Jesus Medina and Ebenezer Ofori each scored second-half goals to lead red-hot New York City FC to a 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders in front of an announced crowd of 18,217 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
NYCFC (7-1-8, 29 points) extended an MLS-best unbeaten streak to 12 games, while the Sounders (8-5-5, 29 points) are now win-less on the road in eight straight contests.
Moralez, who had two goals and two assists in a come-from-behind win over Philadelphia on Saturday, opened the scoring in the 58th minute, putting in a shot that deflected off a sliding Jordy Delem and past Stefan Frei.
It extended a personal streak of points in seven straight games for Moralez, who has six goals and eight assists during the stretch.
“It’s always important to be able to contribute with goals and assists, for the club, as a whole,” Moralez said through a translator. “On a personal level, its always great for me too. The team’s been able to, over the past two months, increase our standing and do really well and keep moving up.”
Seattle threatened to equalize nine minutes later on 24-yard free kick by second-half substitute Victor Rodriguez, placed over the wall, but NYCFC goalkeeper Brad Stuver got both hands on the ball to push it away for a corner.
“It’s a dangerous position and they have a lot of good free kick takers. We got together with [assistant coach] Rob [Vartughian] about defensive set pieces, we set up with five in the wall to try and protect that near post,” Stuver said. “And it was pretty close to the 18, so it’d be very difficult for him to go up and over the wall to get it down in time. So I was just trying to hold my ground as long as possible. It’s something we talked about, it’s something we look at, so glad it worked out.”
Medina made it 2-0 in the 77th minute, tapping in a pass from Taty Castellanos, who started the attacking sequence by stealing the ball from Joevin Jones, who was getting ready to tee up a shot with his left foot.
Ofori capped the scoring three minutes from full time, unleashing a low distance shot that eluded Frei and landed inside the far post.
The best chance of a scoreless first half for the Sounders came in the 32nd minute when Nouhou Tolo ran onto a through ball by Happy Shipp. Tolo took a touch in the box before firing a low shot on frame that Stuver kicked away.
Four minutes from halftime, Tolo failed to close down Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who attacked the space and forced Frei to parry away his left-footed shot hit with pace from distance for one of NYCFC’s 11 corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes.
After a first-half in which NYCFC played “soft” and “slow” according to Torrent, he changed the shape at halftime for a second straight game, opting for a 4-4-2 diamond. His team played quicker, with one and two touches, a vast improvement from the opening 45 minutes. And for a second straight game, NYCFC scored three unanswered goals in the second half.
“We played some minutes, especially in the second half much, much better. We played with confidence,” Torrent said. “We improved a lot in the second half.”
NYCFC close out a four-match home-stand when they host the Portland Timbers Sunday evening, while the Sounders remain on the East Coast to take on Columbus Crew SCSaturday night at MAPFRE Stadium.