New York City FC may have finally laid to rest any claims that the team is crumbling after a dominant 2-0 road win over the Montreal Impact on Saturday. The team that couldn’t get their first win in 2019 until late April, now find themselves with the fewest losses in the league and just five points out of first place. All of this without designated player Alexandru Mitrita and while starting a brutal four-game road trip.
“I’m very happy because I remember last year how many problems we had and right now the feeling is much better,” said head coach Dome Torrent after the game. “We didn’t play well against Montreal in Yankee Stadium. I remember they played with one player down. Even so, we weren’t able to create chances. We played much better here. But you are a genius when you are able to win the game and you are a bad coach when you are not able to win the game.”
Torrent is correct that a title wave of positivity is headed is way due to the results. City have climbed from the bottom of the Eastern Conference a comfortable location in just a few weeks. There is still much work to be done, but players that were under-performing to start the campaign are not delivering in key moments.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi is one such example. The Swedish forward couldn’t find the field to start the campaign due to various issues. At first is was injuries and then coaching selection that had many wondering if the team was looking for another winger option. When that was never fully realized, Tajouri-Shradi emerged again to do what he did so brilliantly in 2018, providing offense from areas outside of the striker position.
The other player is Maxi Moralez. The Argentine midfielder has been an essential cog in the City machine since joining the team in 2017. His eye for goal is impressive but the team seemed to rely on him to be the catalyst too much at the start of the campaign. Now that he has returned to a more advanced midfield role, his goal in the fifth minute displayed his comfort level and just how valuable he can be to the team.
“Maxi brings so much to this team,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “When we don’t have him, it shows. He’s a special player, a special talent. He makes things happen even when things are tight. He’s got the leadership about him where he’s always sure of himself. I was really happy for him today.”
The road trip continues next Saturday as City travel to one of the most difficult places to play this season, Dignity Health Sports Park, against the LA Galaxy. Zlatan and crew lost a tough game against the New York Red Bulls this past weekend and will surely be looking for revenge in front of their home crowd.