Valentin Castellanos' goal with less than 15 minutes remaining lifted New York City FC to a 4-3 win over Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon. The loss eliminated the Fire from Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs contention.
With Chicago needing a win to advance to the playoffs, NYCFC took the lead at the quarter-hour mark on a corner kick routine, as a well-timed header from Alexander Callens deflected off Bobby Shuttleworth and into the net. The lead doubled as Gary Mackay-Steven finished from an odd angle with Shuttleworth pulled away from his net, but Robert Beric made it 2-1 on a free header that sailed past Sean Johnson.
NYCFC restored their two-goal lead, though, on a pretty left-footed strike by Jesus Medina in the 37th to make it 3-1. But a pair of rapid-fire tallies by Przymeslaw Frankowski before the end of the half turned the match on its head as it was 3-3 at the break.
The second half lacked the action of the first, but NYCFC regained their lead in the 77th as a poor Chicago giveaway turned into a Castellanos goal that stood as the match-winner and the death blow to the Fire's playoff hopes.
- NYC - 5' - Alexander Callens | WATCH
- NYC - 32' - Gary Mackay-Steven | WATCH
- CHI - 33' - Robert Beric | WATCH
- NYC - 37' - Jesus Medina | WATCH
- CHI - 42' - Przymeslaw Frankowski | WATCH
- CHI - 43' - Przymeslaw Frankowski | WATCH
- NYC - 77' - Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: NYCFC were already safely into the playoffs, and by virtue of Nashville SC's late win over Orlando City SC, they'll start their quest for their first MLS Cup on the road at Exploria Stadium. Chicago are to be admired for their tenacity to make a game of this one after falling behind by 2 goals, but their quest to punch their ticket to the playoffs will come up short.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: With the Fire pushing for a go-ahead goal, an awful giveaway by Miguel Angel Navarro came back to haunt them. And it resulted in a simple finish from Taty Castellanos that gave the Cityzens the lead for good.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Castellanos scored the game-winner, as he enjoyed a two-point night coupled with his first-half assist and will be a catalyst for NYC as they seek the club's first trophy.
- CHI: End of season.
- NYC: at Orlando City SC, Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs Round One Match