Despite an early goal for New York City FC, a late rally by D.C. United ended whatever was left of the Blues’ playoff hopes.
By Jeff Weisinger
In the end, asking New York City FC to win six matches in a row was a bit too much. The Blues scored the opening goal and looked to still have some magic left in the tank, however D.C. United brought the rain — both figuratively and literally — in the second half as NYCFC loses 2-1 to D.C., ending whatever was left of their playoff hopes.
Frank Lampard scored NYCFC’s fastest goal in its infancy taking advantage of a deflection off of D.C. keeper Bill Hamid, tapping it over Hamid to put the Blues up 1-0 in the opening minute.
Overall, NYCFC played aggressive in the first half, much like they have throughout the last three matches coming into Friday night’s match, creating several opportunities after both teams got a feel of each other’s game in the first 25 minutes of the match.
Their second legitimate chance at goal come in the 41st minute as NYC went on the counter as Andrea Pirlo, Mix Diskerud and David Villa all rushed across the field, however Villa’s shot went just over the crossbar.
He has another shot in stoppage time in the first half that went just wide.
D.C. United, still down 1-0 as the half, took the role of the aggressors in the second half, continuously keeping possession in NYCFC”s defensive third throughout most of the second half, creating one chance after another.
Goalkeeper Josh Saunders held his own for the most part once again, racking up six saves on the night, however he wasn’t enough, once again, to stop the D.C. attack.
United broke through in the 73rd minute in a way that could only bring justice to the Blues’ opening goal. D.C.’s Chris Pontius took a shot on goal from 20-yards out, Saunders parried it away, however Fabian Espindola took advantage of NYCFC’s flat-footed center backs and tapped in the deflected shot.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) October 3, 2015
NYCFC earned several opportunities to take the lead back on a few late corner kicks, one of which was nearly tapped in by Villa at the near-post, however Villa slipped on the shot. Pirlo had a chance on a free kick just outside of D.C’s 18-yard box, however the shot went just over the crossbar, much like many of his chances on free kicks this season.
D.C.’s game-winner came towards the end of stoppage time as Alvaro Saborio tapped in a near-perfect free-kick from Espindola, beating the NYCFC backline once again in the final seconds.
The loss ends NYCFC’s three-match winning streak and, barring any monumental collapse my the Montreal Impact in the coming two weeks, ends the Blues’ run at becoming just the third expansion team in MLS history to make the playoffs in their first season.
NYCFC has a week off due to international duties (mainly the much-anticipated USA vs. Mexico CONCACAF Cup match Oct. 10) before they take on Orlando City at the Citrus Bowl on Oct. 16 (7 p.m. ET, UniMas).
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