New York City FC
(Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

Three games in six days, but New York City FC were up for the task. Their win against Columbus Crew has them tied for first place in MLS.

The hits just keep coming for a dogged squad that has just finished one of the most grueling parts of their schedule.

Even if it’s fleeting, NYCFC currently sits atop the MLS table, tied with Atlanta FC, after an impressive home win against Columbus Crew.

On a day where Dome Torrent turned 56, three points did not always seem assured. In fact, at half-time, most fans probably would’ve settled for a draw, as most of the players looked exhausted.

The first half was the Federico Higuain show. The Crew’s top midfielder found himself with all types of space to create chances for his team. Higuain showed top-class in unlocking the Cityzens defense by drifting into space, unmarked, and floating beautiful touch passes into dangerous areas.

The Crew was generally unlucky to head into the break without a goal as they dominated the home side in shots (11) and crosses (15).

On the other side, NYCFC looked tired. Who could blame them? Three games in six days is a lot, but you play the games on your schedule.

The Bronx Blues’ defense looked second best for most of the first half. Their man-marking was poor and they struggled to create anything through the middle of the field on offense.

Without several key interventions from players like Maxime Chanot and Ben Sweat, along with two stellar saves from Sean Johnson, NYCFC would certainly have been looking at a deficit going into the half.

But credit the home side and the fans, as the Cityzens came out during the second half a completely different team.

Maxi Moralez had a breakaway chance saved by Zach Steffen, but that was just the beginning.

Shortly after, super-sub Jonathan Lewis came on for Ronald Matarrita, and he was lightning in a bottle. His pace, tenacity, and ability to put pressure on the defense gave Columbus Crew all the fits they could handle.

Just before the deadlock was broken, Anthon Tinnerholm had one of the best plays of the game.

Pedro Santos had wiggled through the defense and had a clear, close-range shot on goal. Tinnerholm was there to deflect the shot.

This gave life to the crowd and NYCFC’s attack, as a HUGE mistake from Steffen allowed Lewis to set up Jesus Medina for the first goal of the game.

After that, the Crew were out of the game. The second goal, scored by the player of the month Tinnerholm, and a clear frustration red card from Eduardo Sosa, and City had the three points in the bag.

The victory, while important for many practical reasons, demonstrated a grit and guile that is separating this NYCFC team from year’s past.

Winning three games in six days without players like David Villa, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, and recently in-form striker Jo Inge Berget has the fans and players believing that this team is capable of something special.

Additional Notes:

For City, this is their third win in a row and their 10th home win this season. Medina appears to have the Midas touch, as he has now scored in back-to-back games but picked up what appeared to be a lower-back injury during the second half. Fans will hope that it’s nothing serious.

NYCFC are now off for a week until they get back to work July 26 against Orlando City FC. Top goal-scorer Dom Dwyer will look to put his good form to the test, as the London native scored the winning goal in Orlando FC’s victory over Toronto FC.

Final Stats

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