Another Second Half Surge Continues NYCFC Momentum

Rich Mancuso

Early second half and multiple goals have become a theme of NYCFC, the defending MLS Cup champions, as the team continues to juggle home games between Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. The home field advantage continued Sunday afternoon in the Bronx as they call Yankee Stadium their original home.

Last Sunday at Citi Field, NYCFC scored early in the second half and got by Toronto FC, 5-4. The week before, the second of three home matches in April, NYCFC, after the half, pulled the 6-0 clean sheet over Salt Lake.

At Yankee Stadium again Sunday afternoon, it was a replay. Second half momentum and NYCFC again with a clean slate and a 3-0 win over San Jose.

Three consecutive home games, two different venues, 14 goals. Coach Ronny Deila has used different lineups during this streak and NYCFC has momentum. Considering that in their first five league matches, goals were hard to find.

Five goals at the beginning of their MLS schedule was a struggle but these different home venues have shown Deila something that leads to wins. NYCFC attacks, scores quickly, and often. They will take it to next Sunday evening at Citi Field it should be no different in a matchup with Kansas City.

And you are accustomed now to keep your eyes on the field when the whistle blows for the second half. Sunday afternoon, Keaton Parks and Gabriel Pereira scored four minutes apart.

It’s easy to be stressed when you don’t take your chances in the first half,” Deila said. “We just kept on going. We had really good substitutes who came on. I think it was our best performance this year.”

Because they have talent and depth, Deila can make the proper adjustments. And with Taty Castellanos, the defending MLS “Golden Boot” scoring champion silent, NYCFC is getting production from all corners.

That second half has produced most of the goals. First the 74th minute and Parks attacked from the left side. Gabriel Pereira in the 78th minute took a feed from Santiago Rodriguez at the edge of the penalty area and a left footed shot went into the left corner.

So the balance of this attack is important as the league schedule is more consistent.

I think we have a more attacking minded team,” Delia said. “I have to put players in roles where they get the best out of themselves. We adapt the style to what type of player it is and against who. The most important thing to me is the team ahead of the individuals.”

The coach says everybody is a factor on this roster. The second half surge is one aspect of this winning streak and it’s on the pitch or on the bench.

The way we are playing now is going to make us really hard to beat,” Deila said.

Will this momentum continue at different home venues and when NYCFC hits the road again this month? The schedule has minimal gaps and more consistency with two league and Open Cup matches in a span of a week beginning next Saturday.

Though, home field advantage is working in the favor of NYCFC as two of those matches take place at Citi Field and again at Yankee Stadium.

The team has been working hard every single day in training,” said defender Thiago Martins. “We have been improving and working on everything the coach has been asking us to do. As soon as we reach our goals that’s not enough. We have to keep working hard, and work on the small details to accomplish the bigger tasks this season.”

And that bigger task is continuing this momentum and winning at home.

Like I said it’s about continuing to get better every single day and Kansas City is going to come out and play their own style of game,” Martins said. “But we just have to keep winning and play well here at home and in front of our fans.”

And continue those second half surge of goals.

Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook,com/Rich Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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