On a four-game unbeaten run following the 0-0 draw on the road at D.C. last time out, Head Coach Ronny Deila made one enforced change to the lineup which dominated without reward, bringing in Gudmundur Thórarinsson for the injured Ronald Matarrita at left-back.
The theme of City’s last match in the capital was an inability to take chances to emphasize the superiority of their play, and for long stretches of the first half on this Saturday night match in New Jersey, it looked to be the same story.
Despite failing to take chances which fell for Héber and Moralez in the opening 20’, Deila’s men were certainly the sharper of the two teams and hinted towards a cutting edge to their attacks, with only last ditch defending and good saves from Tyton keeping the home team out.
However, the ebb and flow of the match felt secondary midway through the first half when Moralez was withdrawn with what appeared to by an injury to his knee.
The Argentine initially went down under a challenge from a Cincinnati defender but was able to return to the field, only to break down again shortly thereafter, much to the concern of his teammates.
Gary Mackay-Steven was the player introduced in Maxi’s place and the Scot made his presence known on 39’ when he created the opening goal of the night with an inspired flick.
Alex Ring raced onto that reverse pass and clinically dispatched his third goal of the season and third goal of Phase 1 of the season restart.
Deila’s side remained a goal to the good at the halftime break but one became two on 55’ when Anton Tinnerholm boomed one in with his left foot off a set-piece which was headed back outside the area for the explosive volley.
The Swede was recently voted Etihad Player of the Month and he continued his excellent form with a typically dominant performance down the right flank and an unbelievable finish with his so-called weaker foot.
With a cluster of games in such a short space of time and the stop-start nature of the match, it was perhaps unsurprising that the game lost some of its early bite through the back 30’ or so, but FC Cincinnati were able to strike back with their first goal since the restart on 74'.
Brandon Vazquez got it with a close range finish off a rebound and that goal would have really counted for something if not for a big save by Sean Johnson off a corner on 79’, denying an equalizer which would have made the last 10’ very interesting.
As it was, NYCFC held out for the win and look forward to next weekend’s game in New England as Phase 2 gets under way at the Gillette Stadium.
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