The game in 100 words (or less): For 45 minutes on Saturday night, New York City FC were decent value to go into halftime level at 0-0. Thus, they were extremely unfortunate to be down 2-0 when Jason Kreis led his team back out for the second. For the first 20 minutes of the second half, they looked slow, idealess and unlikely to grab a consolation goal, let alone two to equalize. Then, something miraculous happened: star midfielders Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo were subbed off in the 66th minute and NYCFC sprang to life, took total control of the game and very nearly came back to earn a draw. In the end, they fell 2-1 at the hands of FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. It’s a pretty huge indictment on NYCFC’s big-money veterans, who are 37 and 36 years old respectively, that the whole team’s level rises tenfold once the multi-million dollar superstars are removed from the field to be replaced by Kwadwo Poku and Mix Diskerud. Alas, Kreis will continue to play them week in and week out, because he has little to no choice, as was the case for them being signed in the first place.
Three moments that mattered
45′ — Akindele’s laser makes it 1-0 — As they say, “that ball stayed hit” after it left the foot of Tesho Akindele. FCD play at such a pace that most opposing midfields and defense can’t possibly keep up. At the point where Akindele unleashed this rocket, there were seven NYCFC players in frame on the television broadcast. They were all running toward their own goal.
45’+4 — Michel’s Olimpico makes it 2-0 — There are some great left feet in MLS, but Michel’s might still be the best of the lot, when he’s on the field. Moments before the halftime whistle, the Brazilian whipped in a corner kick that NYCFC failed to put a head to and found the back of the net just inside the far post. Shambolic, Crew SC-esque set-piece defending from NYCFC.
70′ — Grabavoy taken down, PK to NYCFC — Atiba Harris probably didn’t need to make this clothesline challenge on Ned Grabavoy, as the NYCFC midfielder was going to be attacking the FCD goal from a very difficult angle, but that’s doesn’t always matter, does it? He did, it was whistled, and Patrick Mullins converted the ensuing penalty kick.
Man of the match: Michel
Goalscorers: Akindele (45′), Michel (45’+4), Mullins (PK – 70′)