Flushing, New York- Eighty degrees and sunny with not a cloud in the sky is the perfect soccer weather. This past weekend, mother nature provided us with a glimpse of what’s to come this summer with the scorching heat. On Sunday afternoon, the Chicago Fire Football Club entered Queens for a matchup against NYCFC at Citi Field. Pertaining to the heat, the Boys in Blue have been on a scorching path of their own. In their last five MLS matchups, NYCFC is unbeaten with a perfect 5-0-0 record and now stands in first place in the Eastern Conference Standings.
NYCFC’s key component throughout this season relates back to last, when they achieved their first MLS title in franchise history. Thus being the offensive grooves and elite playmaking. In MLS play when NYCFC scores two or more goals, the Boys in Blue stand undefeated at 7-0 this season. To add to their offensive versatility, NYCFC ranks top five across the MLS with 23 team assists.
NYCFC forward Valentín Castellanos was out for Sunday’s match due to an accumulation of yellow cards. He has totaled 7 goals in the MLS season. Castellanos is currently tied for third throughout MLS in goals scored with five others (Adam Buksa, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesús Jiménez, Djordje Mihailovic and Brandon Vázquez).
Although in Sunday’s match NYCFC were equipped in full orange uniforms, the Boys in Blue planned to keep their solid momentum in rhythm. Provided below are a few key statistics entering Sunday between Chicago Fire FC and NYCFC.
Chicago Fire FC vs NYCFC
*(Stats are based from before play on Sunday, May 22nd)*
Statistics: Points, Goals, Goal Difference
Chicago Fire FC: 11 points (Tied 27th in MLS) – NYCFC: 20 points (Tied 5th in MLS)
Chicago Fire FC: 11 goals (Tied 27th in MLS) – NYCFC: 23 goals (Tied 3rd in MLS)
Chicago Fire FC: -5 GD (Tied 25th in MLS) – NYCFC: +13 GD (Tied 1st in MLS)
Scoring Plays in Chicago Fire FC vs. NYCFC
NYCFC 1-0: 23rd minute – Goal by Héber Araujo dos Santos (Penalty Kick)
Chicago Fire FC (2-6-5) vs. New York City Football Club (7-3-2)
Throughout Sunday’s afternoon affair, NYCFC pushed the tempo in a variety of defensive sets against Chicago Fire Football Club. “It’s just about doing the work, staying together, talking, and supporting each other,” said NYCFC midfielder Alfredo Morales on the defensive feel in the team.
To get on the scoreboard early, Héber Araujo dos Santos converted on a penalty kick landing in the bottom right corner of the net to lift NYCFC up 1-0. Due to the substantial heat temperatures, match referees issued one water break in each half of play. Regardless of time and score, the health and well-being of players are the most important aspects of this beautiful sport. Great inclusion by the MLS and referees to provide that 2-3 minute break for players to gain energy and hydrate.
In regards to the straining heat, NYCFC head coach Ronny Delia stated during the postgame: “It was tough for the boys today with the heat. We didn’t get the tempo we wanted, but we were solid. We created more than Chicago and get the three points when we weren’t at our best.”
During the 64th minute, NYCFC missed out on a crucial opportunity to go up 2-0. #10 Maxi Moralez struck a powerful accurate shot, just missing out on the goal from a deflection from the crossbar. The crowd reacted in disbelief from the sound from the crossbar, sparking a second half resurgence in the home crowd with their intense chants.
The Boys in Blue were able to close out Chicago Fire Football Club with a final score of 1-0. NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson finished the afternoon with one save. This marks his 7th clean sheet of the MLS season and 91st in his impeccable career. With five consecutive clean sheets, NYCFC are undefeated in their last five games and have yet to give up a goal in their last 450 minutes played without conceding, easily setting a new club record. NYCFC is now 7-3-2 in the MLS regular season.
This week NYCFC continues their array of matches within separate league and tournament play. This Wednesday May 25th in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, NYCFC will take on a well established club in the New England Revolution at 7:30pm EST at Belson Stadium located in Jamaica, New York. The Boys in Blue will be back in MLS play this Saturday May 28th at Allianz Field as they take on Minnesota United at 8:00pm EST.
Alexander Callens clinches Etihad Player of the Month – April Award
The Peruvian native, Alexander Callens remains one of NYCFC’s top premier players across the box score and in the locker room. His transcendent energy and passion for the game delivers a momentum and exhilarating type of boost to his teammates. For the second consecutive month, Callens was named the Etihad Player of the Month. This award recognizes individual players for their elite play on the field as well as for their impact on the team in a multitude of aspects such as team chemistry, bonding, and much more.
Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.rizzo.1042
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