The New York City Football Club won their second straight game, and first at Yankee Stadium in nearly three months, as they dominated the Montreal Impact 3-1 on Saturday night for their second straight victory.
NYC FC broke an 11-game winless streak when they won in Philadelphia last Saturday against the Union, and this was their first home victory since March 15th against the New England Revolution. They are now up to 14 points, with a record of 3 wins, 7 losses, and 5 ties, and tied the Chicago Fire in the standings in 9th place in the MLS Eastern Conference.
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of the club winning its second straight game, “As I’ve said time and time again, this group has continued to endure, continued to work hard, continued to stay together. I’m really pleased that tonight we saw a little bit of a culmination of that. Still not perfect, for sure. There was 20 minutes in the second half I thought we really got cold, but at the end of the night to get our second win in a row I think was really, really important for this group.”
NYC FC defender Chris Wingert was asked about the difference in the mood of the team after a couple of wins, and he let out a hearty laugh that reflected of the mood of the locker room, which had music playing for the first time in a while after a game. “It is good, everything changes, sometimes I say, I wish that our happiness didn’t depend so much as it does on winning and losing, but that’s the job, that’s the life we chose I guess. But, after a couple of wins, obviously things feel better. I thought last week we grinded out a win, today I thought was the best we played all year, so that felt good to get started on the right foot and hopefully we can continue to move forward and grow from that performance,” said Wingert.
New York City FC got the scoring started in the 31st minute on a beautiful play. Midfielder Ned Grabavoy came down the left side, got it to Patrick Mullins at his right, who passed to Mehdi Ballouchy, who was on the same plane as Grabavoy near the crease line, and he then got it David Villa coming down the center path of the goalmouth, and he fired a strike to make it 1-0.
Villa said of his goal, which was reminiscent plays his former club Barcelona ran, “I think it was a great play, but overall I think it was a fantastic game. It was well played on that first goal. That gave us the lead and we felt more comfortable. I think we had a fantastic game, both offensively and defensively tonight. I’m very, very happy.”
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of Villa’s opening goal and how it was a perfect tic-tac-toe play, “Impressive, impressive goal. I think we had created a couple of chances before that which were really quite nice chances as well. At the end of it all, I think that the number of chances that we created and the way we created those chances was a glimpse of what we’re after.”
Montreal did not get many chances in the first half, the only noteworthy one coming in the 37th minute on a rocket from 30 yards out that NYC goalie Josh Saunders saw all the way. Of that shot, Saunders said, “I’ll take that all day long.”
Saunders said of Montreal not getting many chances in the first half, “No, not at all, I think you could see they got frustrated a little bit, I mean the one after we scored, the guy took a shot from midfield, so that’s obvious frustration on their part.”
NYC FC wasted no time looking for their second goal in the opening of the second half, as David Villa missed a point-blank chance 25 seconds in. In the 51st, R.J. Allen won a challenge and got it to Mullins at the top of the crease, and he missed it on the left side.
In the 75th minute, Kwadwo Poku, the sparkplug off the bench, entered the game. The effect was instantaneous, as a minute later, he came down the left side on a fast break, passed it across the crease to Mix Diskerud, who buried it to make it 2-0 NYC FC in the 76th minute.
Montreal was not done yet, as they got a goal from Wandrille Lefevre in the 88th minute, as he crashed the net, with the assist from Laurent Ciman.
NYC FC goaltender Josh Saunders said of being disappointed about not getting a clean sheet, or a shutout, and the goal, “Yeah, of course, of course, just a mental lapse by me. I think I can come get that ball. It’s one of those plays you just didn’t want to come out, flap at it, so I should have been able to make a play, but it is what it is.”
Despite the scare, NYC responded, as Poku and Villa got a fast break in the 90th minute. Villa came down the left side and sent a pass across to Poku, who buried it to make it 3-1 NYC.
Kreis said of the team starting to play more cohesively, “For me, it’s all about confidence. And I said that last week—that it certainly was not the prettiest of games that we picked up the three points in Philadelphia, but I think it was extremely important that we finally got a win. I felt that this week in training that this giant-sized gorilla had been lifted off of everybody’s shoulders. I think because of that, we saw a group tonight that felt a little bit more liberated and a little bit more free to be the type of players and the type of team that they’re capable of.”
New York City FC Midfielder Mix Diskerud had a big week, as he also scored a goal for the U.S. Men’s National team on Wedneday in their win at Germany and scoring in this one for NYC FC. Mix said of the week, “Yeah. It’s been a very, very fun week. It’s been crazy going around the world and winning games. That feels good. It’s fun to represent the country and win against two of the best teams in the world right now and then joining the winning streak we’ve got going on right here as well.”
Mix said of taking the confidence from USMNT game, “Of course if you score goals, you feel like you can do that more often. It felt good to come in and help the team.”
Kreis said of Mix, “I think he, like every other player, it’s confidence and the mental side is such a huge part of professional sports. I think that we see Mix gain some confidence through his two performances with the national team and obviously gained a ton of confidence from scoring a great goal against Germany and he brings that back with us. He only had once chance and he scored.”
David Villa said of Mix Diskerud, “Mix is a fantastic player. He’s young, he has tremendous potential, and I’m very happy for him, for the goal he scored the other day with US National Team. I think that gave him a lot of confidence, and he’s been tremendously helpful for us tonight. His first practice this week was on Friday with us, but he did tremendously well on the field today. He scored the second goal, that gave us a lot of piece of mind, for the team. I think he’s a tremendous player with a lot of potential, and I think that’s going to help us greatly.”
Villa said of the biggest key to winning back-to-back games, “It’s just hard work really. We’ve been working very hard. We just needed to improve. We had a fantastic game in Philadelphia the other day. This is obviously a morale boost for the team, so in terms of confidence it’s going to be great for the team and we just have to continue.”
Mix said of the biggest difference since they last played at Yankee Stadium, Mix said, “We’re winning right now. It feels like we have a lot of confidence. We’re keeping the ball. We’re creating a lot of chances. The other team is not creating a lot of chances. We’re playing good soccer right now.
Mix said of the NYC FC fans, “I’ve been a supporter growing up. It felt so good to be able to give something back and have them take the subway or taxi home with a smile on their face.”
Saunders said of the difference in the team since the last time they were at Yankee Stadium on May 30th, “Just a continued belief. I think we’ve been working on things on the training field and it’s been working out very well for us. On the first goal, you saw it was a perfect goal for us, a lot of ball movement side to side, up and back in the box, and yeah, I think it’s just a continued belief in the hard work ethic.”
Wingert said of the defense playing their best game of the season, “I felt we did a good job, which we talk about a lot, but maybe haven’t always executed the way we wanted, but I thought we did a good job of winning the ball back in their half, and that is what we try to do, especially at home. We really want to put them under it so that, even if we do lose it in their half, we’re in good spots to win it right back, and tonight I thought we did a better job of that than any time before.”
Wingert said of the team, with a win under their belt entering this one, playing with with more confidence and less tension, “We’ve spoken about that, to play a little bit more, not to play not-to-lose as opposed to go out to play to win, and I thought we did a really good job of that tonight both offensively and defensively. I’ve said it for awhile, I think a lot of times that our best defense is our offense. When we can possess the ball in their end and then, when we do lose it, then we’re right on top of it (he snapped his fingers) to win it back and keep it for long stretches, and I thought when we were able to do that, not force things, but really move without the ball and knock it, that things were able to open up for us and then, gradually as the game goes on, they start to open up and it gives us a chance to get in, so I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”