CHESTER, Pa. | Tommy McNamara had a memorable debut by scoring in his first-career start in Major League Soccer in 2014.
The midfielder repeated his goal-scoring feat in his first-ever start for New York City FC on Saturday night.
McNamara and Patrick Mullins scored as the Club earned a vital 2-1 road victory over the Philadelphia Union in front of a sellout crowd of 18,517 on a beautiful early summer evening at PPL Park.
New York City FC improves to 2-7-5 (11 points) after their first victory since March 15, while the Union are now 4-9-3 (15 points).
McNamara, making his first start with the Club, gained possession in the midfield and dished the ball to Kwadwo Poku, also making his first start of the season. The midfielder waited for McNamara to make his run into space and fed the ball to the 24-year-old in front of him. McNamara, who missed most of 2014 after tearing his ACL on April 12, darted ahead into a gap and fired his effort into the top far corner in the 53rd minute.
It was his second-career goal and first since finding the back of the net for Chivas against the Chicago Fire on March 9, 2014.
New York City FC turned a potential second consecutive draw into a victory that snapped an 11-game winless streak with a great show of strength and accuracy by Mullins.
The second-half substitute received a throw in and fended off a defender on his hip. Mullins turned a fired a left-footed effort to the near post past Philadelphia goalie Brian Sylvestre for a one-goal advantage in the 87th minute.
It was Mullins’ third goal of the season.
A week after being the beneficiaries of a handball call in the box, New York City FC feel victim to a non-call.
Players and fans alike shouted for an infraction, but the referee allowed play to continue as CJ Sapong guided the ball into the near post off a corner kick in the 46th minute to give Philadelphia a 1-0 advantage early into the second half.
Sebastian Le Toux’s corner kick was sent into a dangerous area just outside the 6-yard box. Philadelphia captain Maurice Edu may have gotten his head to it, but the ball hit Sapong and settled nicely in front of him as the forward slipped it into the near corner past a diving Josh Saunders, who had six saves.
The match was scoreless at halftime.
Both teams had their share of chances to take an early advantage, but couldn’t capitalize.
Andrew Wenger’s header in the 17th minute went over the net.
McNamara and captain David Villa had chances thereafter, but the first effort was saved by Sylvestre and the second went wide of the goal.
New York City FC’s best initial effort came in the 38th minute. Villa’s chip from the left side was headed down by Adam Nemec onto Sebastian Velasquez. The midfielder’s close-range effort at the near post was cut off by Sylvestre to keep the match scoreless.
New York City FC return home for a match against the Montreal Impact on June 13. Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium.
New York City FC 2, Philadelphia Union 1
46’ C.J. Sapong PHI; 53’ Thomas McNamara NYC; 87’ Patrick Mullins NYC
4’ Jason Hernandez NYC (Yellow Card – Foul)
89’ Maurice Edu PHI (Yellow Card – Foul)
NYC FC: TOTAL SHOTS: 12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 6
PHILADELPHIA: TOTAL SHOTS: 12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
- New York City FC records its first-ever road victory.
- Patrick Mullins scored the game-winning goal in the 87th minute, bringing him into a tie with David Villa and Mehdi Ballouchy for the team-lead in tallies with three.
- Thomas McNamara made his first start of the season and scored the first goal of his New York City FC career. The midfielder’s 53rd-minute equalizer was his second career MLS goal.
- Kwadwo Poku made his first career MLS start and picked up his second assist of the season. Poku had previously appeared in six matches as a substitute for New York City FC. He made 36 passes and had a 91.7% pass accuracy in the first half.
- With six saves tonight, goalkeeper Josh Saunders brings his season total to 48—tying him with D.C. United’s Bill Hamid for the third most in MLS. Only Seattle Sounders FC’s Stefan Frei and Columbus Crew SC’s Steve Clark have more saves this season.
- Tonight’s meeting marked the third and final league match between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union. The clubs finished their regular season series even at 1-1-1 with four goals apiece.
New York City FC Post game quotes
Head Coach Jason Kreis
On the victory: “Obviously I’m really pleased with the guys efforts and the result. It’s like a breath of fresh air around here and I hope that these points will mean something to our confidence level because I feel like we’ve really had some guys that have struggled with confidence for a few weeks now so, those are the positives but we still have a long way to improve and I think that everyone on the locker room here knows it, so we’ll get back to work pretty quickly this week.
On how they can continue to build off of this result: “We just, look at it for what it is, a really important three points. It’s great to get a win away, great to finally get some points that I feel like we’ve deserved for a long time, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and as I said before, we must recognize, we must look ourselves in the mirror and know that we still have a long way to go.
On the new players in the lineup: “I think it’s always difficult for guys to step into the starting lineup when they haven’t been there for quite some time. Actually, both [Thomas McNamara and Kwadwo Poku haven’t started for us yet. I think it’s difficult, you could see that they looked a little bit leggy in the first half and both of them looked really fatigued at the end of the first half. We got them in here and got them a little bit of a break but I do think that they still, they like everybody else, there is lots of room for improvement.”
Forward Patrick Mullins
On the away win: “I think it’s important , obviously, to pay off some of the performances we’ve had where we’ve deserved it. I thought we gave ourselves a really good chance to get something from the game, and sometimes it’s about plays in the first ten minutes of the half and the last ten minutes, and that’s what it came down to. I think we’re happiest for the fans, the loyalty, the passion, the drive they’ve showed for us has been great.
On how much the win helps his confidence and the team’s confidence: “It’s huge – Not only is it three points, its three points on the road and in this league it not easy to do. I think it’s a big morale boost and hopefully we can put together some nice performances and be able to get points.”
Goalkeeper Josh Saunders
On the game: “I thought it was great. I thought the effort was amazing, we’ve been talking about it for a long time, created some good chances and we put them away. I can’t be prouder of the guys, it was awesome.
On the boost in confidence and how to build on it moving forward: “I think we’ve been building it for a while and then going into the home game against Montreal, it’s going to be huge. So, I mean, a good effort in training this week and continue to work on things, and get some little plays better and maybe get some more.
On the tweaks to the lineup and how they played: “I mean I thought they did great. Obviously Poku passed to Tommy to get the goal, so I mean two guys that came on and contributed, it was great. And then another guy that came on late in Patrick Mullins, came on and scored so the contributions from the guys that came in as subs or as replacements did really well.”
Midfielder Thomas McNamara
On the away win: “It feels good to finally get three points, we’ve been working extremely hard, we’ve been staying together, you know it’s finally good, it feels good for it to finally come good for us.”
On his first start for New York City FC: “It’s been a while. No, you know, it’s just a bonus. We just wanted to get the three points, and whoever scored the goal scored the goal. It just so happened to be me today. Obviously you know, it’s just a little icing on the cake.”
On the goal he scored: “I just tried to get myself inside and I think it was Poku who ended up giving me the ball, I took a touch or two and just decided to go for it and I caught it well and it just ended up in the top corner.”
On how the team take the confidence moving forward: “Yeah, it’s just one game and it was nice to just kind of break the streak that was going on, the winless streak, but you know, it doesn’t matter unless we follow it up with another good performance and a good result next week so, just got to be focused starting tomorrow. We’re going to Montreal, this game is over.”