Surprise win for visitors as Union fall to NYCFC

It was third time lucky for New York City FC last night as they finally beat the Philadelphia Union, ending the Union’s solid run  and their own 11 game winless streak.

The game started in quite a rigid fashion under the watch of the Sons of Ben as both teams scrapped for stints of possession. Passing accuracy became a real fact a complete mystery to the Union who had a passing percentage of 0% in the final third. However, despite the lack of passing prowess, the home side racked up the pressure in front of the net. Maidana had a notable shot that was dealt with as the wingers, like we predicted were like a machine gun of crosses. Balls through the air were coming from all angles but unfortunately most ended up being clutched by Saunders.

One big talking point for the Union was Sapong. There were a few who doubted the finishing of the struggling number two striker, and with Aristegueta out injured, many feared for the worst. But just a minute into the second half, Sapong struck home from a cross to send the Union into a 1-0 lead..the goal was labelled as controversial however. The replays showed the ball making minimal contact with the strikers arm but the officials ruled it a goal.

For the NYCFC fans luckily, the lead was short lived as Thomas McNamara hit arguably the nicest goal in the teams campaign. The Union responded instantly with the wingers taking it up yet another level but it still wasn’t enough. As the game deepened, the tension rose. The Union became desperate and scrapped for any chance on goal they could get, leaving gaping holes at the back.  Very late on, NYCFC substitute Patrick Mullins fired a shot to beat Sylvestre at the near post and seal the deal. NYCFC played opportunistically, and it worked wonders as the team clenched their first ever win against their new rivals.

Good, but not great would be the phrase I would use to describe the Union’s game. Firing in 37 crosses and only capitalising on 19% is simply not good enough. The intention was there, the build up was there, but with no danger man Nando in the box it seemed the DOOPers struggled to make the looping balls stick. Whether it be a poor run, poor reaction, a mishit or simply nobody in the intended area, The Union just couldn’t find that winning formula.

We mentioned the supporting cast of the wingers, but the supporting cast to the supporting cast played a far greater role. For the third week running, Williams and Fabinho were outstanding on the flanks, intercepting balls, cutting out big time plays and more importantly building the counter attack and exploiting the wings.  The young Richie Marquez also continues to impress and prove his doubters wrong by putting in another solid performance with the Union really starting to have room to breathe when it comes to depth.

New York City played surprisingly well in their most recent fixture, on paper, it was a Union win. No doubt. But nothing is ever certain in the beautiful game and with the Union having three games in such a short space of time, the team are going to be at about 70-80% which certainly didn’t help. But with a much tougher LA Galaxy coming up after their US Open Cup game against the Rochester Rhinos, the Union are running out of easy games to mount a playoff charge..and running out of excuses with them.