The Bronx Blues displayed another level of versatility as they vanquished Mitias Almeyda’s San Jose Quakes 2-1 at Yankee Stadium Saturday afternoon. Despite going down one at the 20th minute, NYCFC showed no panic, trusting their game-plan and talent as they humbled the Quakes in a span of four minutes to close the half.
“We played against a team, that in my understanding, plays the best soccer with a well-defined style.” said San Jose coach Matias Almeyda “A young team with dynamic [players] and mobility. They try to play the soccer that I personally like.”
Big praise from an opposing coach but difficult to deny as the Pigeons have now won five of their last six, capturing 19 of a possible 21 points in the process. Saturday’s result was made even more essential in the league standings because as captain Alex Ring put it “we were chasing for a long time but now we want to set the pace and see it through”.
See it through they did, putting the screws to those who trail them in the Conference. “[This win] is very important to us” said Coach Torrent “because right now Philadelphia and Atlanta have to play. But our focus is not to put pressure, we forget about it and look to the next game.”
Peeking into the locker-room after the game you get the sense that they have already forgotten, as the energy was one of dancing and laughter, these Blues are enjoying every moment of it. Look no further than first year player Keaton Parks, who after a few miscues and good nature ribbing from his teammates, finally scored his first league goal for the club.
“I get a lot of jokes in the locker room that I haven’t scored yet because I missed a lot of chances” said Parks “so they can’t talk trash now and that feels good.”
The goal did not seem to put his teammates off clowning him however, as during his interview keeper Brad Stuver threw a towel at Parks calling him “Bambi Legs” to the laughter of all in ear shot. But with consistent playing time and his focus sharpening, Parks is certainly bedding in, making a great team even better.
“Moving off the ball was key today” said Parks of his goal “once we beat our man in any direction it opened up space to have moments of magic and it confused their team”
San Jose employ a rare defensive style of man to man marking all over the pitch for the entirety of the game. A style scarcely seen throughout professional leagues and certainly not in the MLS, but an identity made their own through coach Almeyda’s vision.
“We had problems in the first twenty-five minutes on how to handle it but we talked a lot about it in the meetings” said Anton Tinnerholm “they are used to it and did it well so it was tough. We knew if we won our man to man duels then it is a huge opportunity and we scored two fantastic goals.”
No matter the style thrown at them or complications of the hectic MLS schedule, NYCFC prove every week that they are prepared for all comers. And with the luxury of a week before their next game, a recharging of batteries is in order. But it is safe to say if this club continues to ride this long wave of momentum, a historic first Supporters Shield is as good as won.
“We are tired, and we haven’t played the best but we have found different ways to win” said the Captain “we are going to enjoy life a little bit and get some rest but it’s up to us to take points, if we can then no other team can match us.”
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