After the first NYCFC goal, it seemed inevitable that Toronto would come back. New York City were pressing well, and even if they were struggling with putting shots on goal as they have throughout the MLS is Back tournament, they were hassling and preventing Toronto from creating any real chances. Yet, there remained the foreboding feeling that Toronto would eventually figure things out and dominate NYCFC as they have many times in the past. Another painful memory for NYCFC to add to the playoff defeat to the same opponents last year and a 7-0 aggregate loss in the 2016 postseason.
Then in the 55th minute, Maxi Moralez showed his class to allay the fears that this would be the same old NYCFC against Toronto. The second goal was scored by Valentin Castellanos, but it is one of those goals where the quality of the assist supersedes and will be more memorable than the goal itself.
As the ball bounced in front of him in the attacking third as he was facing and running to his right, and with several defenders converging in on him, Moralez somehow managed to see Castellanos peeling away from the crowd to the left. Then in a wonderful moment, he lofted a reverse ball over the defenders to the running Castellanos, who had no defender near him. It took a bit of work from the forward to score, as he had to settle and then cut inside of a recovering defender, but Moralez's ability and audaciousness in making that pass was another example of what makes him so special and a testament to the power of playmakers to do the rarest thing in soccer: create chances from unreasonable situations.
Once Castellanos scored, it became clear that something different was taking place between the two teams. Even as Toronto brought in Jozy Altidore and other substitutes to try and wrestle control away from their opponents, NYCFC remained comfortable as Toronto grew more desperate. Toronto put New York City under immense pressure, yet Ronny Deila's team were able to defend well and find opportunities against the compromised Toronto defense.
NYCFC's patience paid off again in the 80th minute. A low cross from the left found Heber in the box, and with a devious flick, he took out his immediate defender to find Moralez arriving at the top of the box alone and with all the time in the world to measure the keeper before slotting the ball home. The goal was praiseworthy because of the build-up, the assist by Heber, and the composure from Moralez, who rightly capped off his great performance with a goal, but it came as a consequence of New York simply out playing and frustrating Toronto. Moralez had so much time and space in front of goal because Toronto committed everyone forward. But instead of creating chances, they were suffocated and then punished by a team that they usually have no problem with.
It was odd to see Heber hit the bar with two chances after Toronto's consolation goal, and have him and his teammates laugh those missed opportunities off. In a normal world, the world before the tournament, New York would have been chasing the game and regretting those missed opportunities. But nothing is normal anymore.
It's fair to ask how much this tournament, with all of the strangeness and unusual structure of it, is an accurate barometer of each team's development. After all, Altidore, Toronto's star striker, was suffering from a lack of match fitness and came off the bench because he had to self-quarantine after leaving Toronto during lockdown to be with his family in Florida. It's legitimately difficult to gather too much information and analysis from any team in such a sped-up environment with a lack of collective fitness and chemistry. NYCFC might have won now, but is the win and performance more of a product of the chaos of the external circumstances rather than proof that they can legitimately beat Toronto?
The question and skepticism is understandable, but there are reasons why this win matters greatly. Not only because New York City advances, but because it's an event the team can take inspiration from going forward. They beat Toronto FC. They beat Toronto FC comfortably. For a team who have been thwarted by Toronto several times over the years, it's a monumental achievement. For New York City and new head coach Deila, this can be the start, the foundation, from which they build their new identity. Where they can shed the idea of being a regular-season team that fails to deliver when it comes to the pressure of knockout soccer in the playoffs.
Altre notizie - News
- 23:14 New York City FC dismantled: it will be a tough season
- 22:57 City Football Group adds Bolivia's Club Bolivar as partner club
- 21:54 After Gomez even Ribery has been linked to NYCFC
- 16:31 NYCFC's Joe Scally makes move to Borussia Monchengladbach
- 22:02 Messi to MLS: bought a family apartment in Miami
- 20:00 Almeyda: "MLS wolud be the right league for Messi"
- 19:00 Papu Gomez linked to New York City FC
- 18:25 NYCFC, 2020 is a year of bitterness for fans
- 18:30 New York City FC, team weakened on the pitch and in the locker room
- 18:00 NYCFC's Alexandru Mitrita scores again in loan stint with Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli
- 17:01 Austin FC sign former NYCFC goalkeeper Brad Stuver
- 22:48 Messi: "I always had the illusion of living in the US"
- 15:00 David Beckham tries to convince Messi to play for Inter Miami
- 14:00 New York City FC option for the future of Leo Messi
- 23:30 Keaton Parks Named NYCFC’s Young Player of the Year for 2020
- 23:00 Sean Johnson Named NYCFC’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2020
- 23:42 Austin FC, Reyna: "Ring will be a great addition to our club"
- 23:32 New York City FC, the Ring trade is a non sense choice
- 21:15 Sean Johnson out for Concacaf Champions League match against Tigres
- 21:07 Tigres UANL vs. NYCFC - Taty Castellanos Preview
- 21:05 Tigres UANL vs. NYCFC - Ronny Deila Preview
- 22:13 Orlando City Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar Loaned to NYCFC
- 22:12 New York City FC Announces Travel Plans for the Resumption of 2020 Concacaf Champions League
- 23:00 Stuver's emotional message after leaving NYCFC
- 22:39 NYCFC, Surgery for Alex Ring
- 17:36 NYCFC, exercise options for 5 players. Brad Stuver leaves NY
- 22:15 Sean Johnson: "Thanks to all the supporters who stuck with us through this challenging year"
- 21:51 New York City FC, Tinnerholm expressed his feelings
- 23:47 New York City FC, need to grow mentally and be more concrete
- 23:38 NYCFC, former intern describes sexual harassment allegations against David Villa
- 18:00 Tinnerholm: "It is brutal to lose this way"
- 17:00 Parks: "We deserved the victory"
- 16:00 Ronny Deila: "I'm devasteted"
- 15:30 New York City FC defeated: team without personality
- 15:00 NEW POLL - Orlando City 6 - 5 New York City FC: is it the worst defeat in the history of the Blues?
- 14:00 Orlando City (6) 1-1 (5) NYCFC - Ronny Deila Reaction
- 00:01 What happened in the Orlando City vs. NYCFC penalty shootout? Here are the official explanations from PRO
- 23:33 Match Recap | Orlando City 1-1 NYCFC
- 22:30 Orlando 6 - 5 NYCFC: Orlando advanced New York returns home
- 16:32 Orlando City - NYCFC 1-1: PENALTIES LIVE ON (6-5) NOW IT'S OVER
- 16:00 Deila: "Orlando is a good team but..."
- 15:18 NYCFC, three players out against Orlando City
- 19:30 Deila: “We are ready for what’s coming"
- 18:30 Tinnerholm: "The season starts for real on Saturday for us"
- 17:30 Orlando City SC vs. NYCFC - Ronny Deila Preview - VIDEO