Ring: We've found ourselves
NYCFC (4-1-6) have been a contender since their second MLS campaign, finishing second in the East in 2016 and 2017 but falling at the first playoff hurdle. They were third last year and again reached the conference semifinals, but went 4-8-4 down the stretch, including two postseason defeats to Atlanta United.
This year's start wasn't great. They dropped just one of the first six games, a 4-0 debacle March 29 in Toronto, but could do no better than draw the others, even while posting two shutouts.
In the last of these games, Torrent swapped out a 4-2-3-1 alignment for a 3-4-3 that turned into something akin to a 5-3-1 when the opponent was attacking. They pulled out a 3-3 draw at Minnesota United in the opening match at Allianz Field and have been nearly unstoppable since.
“I think we've been playing like this the last six or seven games, every since we changed our system,” captain Alex Ring, who reigned over his side's midfield dominance for much of the match at Dignity Health Sports Park, told MLSsoccer.com. “We didn't play bad before, but the results weren't as we wished. We drew too many times.
“I think we've found ourselves now the formation that suits the way our players can express themselves best, and we're reaping the rewards at the moment.”