(Maxi Moralez – @NYCFC)
For the second time in four days, New York City Football Club beat the Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium. On Sunday night, it was in the regular season finale, and on Wednesday night, NYCFC dominated again, to the tune of a 3-1 win in their one-game playoff.
The win sets up a meeting between NYCFC and second-seeded Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with the first leg this Sunday at Yankee Stadium and the second leg in Atlanta on November 11.
Maxi Moralez led the way for NYCFC, as he had a goal and two assists.
NYCFC Head Coach Domenec Torrent said of Moralez’s night, ”
“The performance tonight was amazing, Maxi was fantastic. Not only because he was able to score, the performance was very well. When we decided to play in between, they played fantastic. The last 20 minutes we decided to play with two strikers – David and Maxi and they played perfect as well.”
NYCFC got on the board just 10 minutes in when Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored on a feed from Moralez.
Torrent said of the opening goal, “It’s important in the knockout games when you score a goal because we have two plans, if we scored a goal or if they scored a goal. The goal was fantastic, an amazing goal for Ismael to score but it’s very important because everyone knows what happens when we score a goal – keeping calm, we have time and we have to take advantage and we have to play different when they do. In knockout games, the team that scores quickly has more possibilities to win the game.”
Tajouri-Shradi said of his goal, “Maxi had the ball then he lofted the ball and did a great pass, and I started running in the space. Villa did a little touch of the ball to me, he knew the runners were going towards him and it was a great combination. The first shot I tried to shoot, then I thought for the second shot I had to do it directly and it was a great goal.”
In the 26th, Moralez and Ronald Matarrita set up David Villa for NYCFC’s second goal.
Moralez got a goal of his own, on a feed from Anton Tinnerholm in the 78th minute that gave NYCFC a commanding 3-0 lead.
Philadelphia’s lone goal came in the 83rd minute when Cory Burke scored on a feed from Ilsinho.
Villa said of beating Philadelphia twice in such a short period of time, “I think obviously we are more focused right now and it’s not a secret that in the last month of the regular season, we did pretty bad. We had lost many important players. But after that, we refocused and we believed in the players, which is really, really important. And we are happy. We are happy because of the way we played today. We got to play Maxi after the injury. We got to play Yangel after the injury. It looks like we’re in a position where everyone is healthy.”