No-Quit in The New York FC

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By Lenny Ortiz

New York City FC played their third and final game of a demanding week Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium when the blistering hot Philadelphia Union came into the Bronx. The Union, winners in four of their last five matches, would learn a bit about the no-quit New York FC mentality as the Blues stormed back for a 2-1 victory.

The Blues had their fair share of scoring opportunities in the first half however all chances were quickly washed away by the brilliant play of Union keeper Andre Blake.

Blake seemed impenetrable, as the only two shots that made it past him in the first 80 minutes of the match clanked off the crossbar. The better of the two missed chances took place in the 67th minute where a wonderful run by Maxi Moralez setup Villa for a chance inside the box.

The missed shot off the crossbar fueled a Philadelphia breakaway that saw Fafa Picault deliver a wonderful curled finish around New York FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

After a giving up a late equalizing goal in their recent match up against the Revolution, and finding themselves behind 1-0 in a game they were dominating, the Blues kept their heads up.

We had to make sure our mentality was right and it kinda hit home that we weren’t going to allow this to happen again. We couldn’t allow two games in a row to let the results slip away from us, so for us the results were huge.” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson

And they didn’t let two games slip from them, as with ten minutes left in regulation Maxi Moralez sent in a cross from a corner that found the head of center back Maxime Chanot, who finally got one past Blake for the equalizer.

Jun 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC defender Maxine Chanot (4) and Philadelphia Union forward C.J. Sapong (17) fight for a header during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC defender Maxine Chanot (4) and Philadelphia Union forward C.J. Sapong (17) fight for a header during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The club fed off the wave of energy as five minutes later, an aggressive possession lead to a blocked shot that bounced to the right foot of center back Alexander Callens who sent the ball into the back of the next for the game winning goal.

Both goals by New York FC defenders were their first of the season, as well as their first for the club.

Jun 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC defender Alexander Callens (6) and defender Maxine Chanot (4) and midfielder Jack Harrison (11) and forward Sean Okoli (9) make a wall in front of a free kick by Philadelphia Union midfielder Roland Alberg (10) during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC defender Alexander Callens (6) and defender Maxine Chanot (4) and midfielder Jack Harrison (11) and forward Sean Okoli (9) make a wall in front of a free kick by Philadelphia Union midfielder Roland Alberg (10) during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After the game a proud Patrick Vieira spoke on the victory, “I think we played quite well. You have to give them credit, their goalkeeper had a fantastic game.”

The head coach continued to praise his club, “I think as a team we didn’t accept the defeat and we fought back. I’m really proud of this team and the way the subs came on. They really lifted the team and provided a second wind.”

The three points gained are important, as the Boys in Blue now stand in second place behind Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference. However to most important thing to take away from this result is their ability to make adjustments and clearing their mindset of the late goal Wednesday, and then coming back to win after a 1-0 deficit against a hot Philadelphia side with goals in the 80th and 85th minutes.

NYCFC will have the next few days to recover from their long week as their next game isn’t until June 14th when they play their crosstown rivals the New York Red Bulls.

Lenny Ortiz is a contributing writer with the Bronx Chronicle and a student of journalism with emphasis on sports at SUNY Oneonta.