Maxi Moralez can hurt Atlanta
It was quite the attacking performance from New York City FC. They had less possession than the Union, had a poorer pass accuracy in the attacking half than the Union, and completed over 50 fewer passes throughout the 90 minutes. And yet, they outshot their opponents 11 to seven, scored some truly lovely goals, and showcased why they are still a team to be feared.
At the heart of it all was Maxi Moralez. The diminutive midfielder, playing behind the lone centre-forward, David Villa, was instrumental to NYCFC’s attacking threat. He scored the final goal with a brilliant chip, he assisted Villa’s with an aware, reversed, first-time pass, and he was accredited the assist for the opening goal with a piercing through pass to break the Union defensive lines after a turnover.
New York will play a better team in Atlanta United in the next round. They will not be able to rely on their defensive shape to repel the irresistible attacking play of the Five Stripes, with or without a fit Miguel Almiron. And so, goals will be vital, and Moralez will have to be the chief creator once again.
He proved here that he has the ability to hurt Atlanta. And Atlanta will have to be acutely aware of his threat. But there is a big gap between the Union and the second-best team in MLS. Can Moralez make the jump or not?