(NYCFC’s Maxi Moralez scoring on Wednesday night – USA Today Sports)
New York City Football Club rolled to a 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
NYCFC kept their unbeaten streak to start the season, as they improved to 5-1-0, with 16 points, in first place in the Eastern Conference.
It only took them just 12 minutes to get on the board. Ismael Tajouri was in the right place at the right time, as he intercepted a clearing pass from a Real Salt Lake defender at the top of the key, then fired it into the net to make it 1-0 NYCFC. It was his fourth goal of the season.
In the 30th minute, Real’s Justen Glad took down Jesus Medina in the box and NYCFC was awarded a penalty kick. Maximiliano Moralez took the PK and buried it for his fourth goal of the year to make it 2-0.
A short time later, in the 41st minute, Medina and Ronald Matarrita started a brilliant play in which Jo Inge Berget got open down the left side, and ran in to make it 3-0, which was the score at the half.
It was Berget’s first goal for NYCFC and it came in his home debut, and he said of it, “It’s always good to score and get that first goal and get that pressure off you and it’s a nice feeling and a good goal.”
NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said of how big it was to have Berget as a scoring option and to see him score his first goal, “I was real pleased with him. I think he’s been very unlucky since he arrived with us with injuries but he’s been working hard. He deserved that goal and I’m really pleased. Even if he is not 100 percent fit, I like the way he’s working for the team. I like the way he’s thinking about the team before thinking about himself. He deserved the goal. I’m really happy for him today.”
In the 70th minute, Ebenezer Ofori also got his first goal as he came down the center and got a feed to drill it home and make it 4-0 NYCFC.
NYCFC dominated throughout, as they poured in 26 shots, eight of which were on target, to 11 shots (five on target for Real.
It was the third shutout of the season for NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and it is the most in MLS.
Johnson said of how NYCFC will keep the momentum going, “I think most importantly for us – every game is a different challenge. We have a group of players that are very driven, very focused, very hungry – I think hungry is the best word to describe this group. Every game, we know we have to go in and put on a performance. When we get a result, we analyze it – both the good and bad. We work on things throughout the week and then our focus shifts to the next game. We don’t really think in the past – that’s been our key to success over this stretch – it’s really just focusing on the task at hand and then after the task just focus on the next one.”
David Villa returned for his first action in a month, and Vieira said of what it did for his team to have to step up without their star, “No, David (Villa) wasn’t in because he was injured. He’s part of our front players who can score goals, like he’s shown in the last few years. What would make my job really difficult for the next game is for me to choose the starting eleven. I will have to be honest with the players as usual. It will be a tough decision I will have to make, but i will always think about the team before thinking about individuals. When you look at the way Ismael (Tajouri-Shradi), Jesus (Medina), and even Jo (Inge Berget) work, David missed a few games, but he came on and played really hard and that’s what I expect from the players. Their job is to make it difficult to choose the starting eleven. I have a decision to make and I will make it, but always putting the team first.”
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Mike Petke said of the game, ““We played against a superior team. At their home. A team that Patrick [Viera] built up phenomenally in three years. Had a great conversation with Patrick in preseason and before this game tonight and my hands off to him. He’s got a player in every position that’s technically gifted. 89th minute, I don’t know if it was Moralez, I think it was Moralez. 89th minute winning 4-0 and him sprinting 60 yards back, put the work in. A team with the great mentality. A team that like I said, that he built up that is technically superior at every position than most teams. So we lost to a, right now, better team.”
Brooklyn & Staten Island Night: In honor of the special occasion, the Fort Hamilton High School JROTC was on hand for the pregame ceremonies, as they presented the flags during the national anthem.