Game of moments opens door for Jesus Medina to win game for NYCFC

BRONX, N.Y. – After two Video Review decisions went against his team in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium, one might have expected New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena to be long-winded.

Instead, it was more a sense of disappointment of what could have been in the defeat to New York City FC.

“I’m just sorry for the fans that came out today and [for] the players that we weren’t afforded the opportunity to have a good game,” Arena said. “It could have been a good game, it really could have been.”

That sentiment was fueled by a chain of events from start to finish, as Revolution forward Juan Fernando Caicedo bullied his way to a 2nd-minute opener, paving the way for a possible road win.

But then center back Antonio Delamea was shown a straight red card in the 9th minute after Video Review judged that he denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity for NYCFC forward Taty Castellanos. Delamea felt the decision swayed the match and his action wasn’t worthy of a dismissal.

“I play the ball back to [goalkeeper] Matt [Turner], maybe I touched him with my hand afterwards, but that’s just because the guy came into my way running,” Delamea said. “So I just think that was the wrong decision that cost us a win. Before my sending off, I think we were the better team on the field. All I can say is it’s probably now me that’s going to get fined for something that’s obvious to everyone that I didn’t do. It is how it is.”

With a man advantage, NYCFC rode a second-half brace from winger Jesus Medina to a win that bumped Dome Torrent’s team above the Philadelphia Union and into first place in the Eastern Conference – all with a game in hand.

Medina’s first goal came in the 70th minute, equalizing as he tapped home an Anton Tinnerholm cross from the right. He then bested Matt Turner in the 96th minute on a penalty kick that was awarded after Video Review. Head referee Silviu Petrescu pointed to the spot, judging Andrew Farrell fouled Alexandru Mitrita in the 18-yard box.

Medina spoke to how NYCFC stayed level during those moments where Petrescu was deliberating.

“There were two, what I consider, tough decisions throughout the game,” Medina said through a translator, “but you keep focusing and trying. Thankfully it worked out for us.”

NYCFC midfielder Keaton Parks was similarly relieved that the decisions went their way.

“We can’t control what the refs do, it’s part of the game,” Parks said. “Tonight it went in our favor and it worked out, but it doesn’t change the game emotionally. We’re all focused, we’re all doing our part and the refs were doing their part.”

By the final whistle, Turner’s personal-best nine saves were for naught and NYCFC pulled out a massive three points, even with international call-ups mounting and leading striker Heber out injured.

There was also an over-arching joy for Medina in the NYCFC locker room, with the Paraguayan winger now on three goals after bagging six in his inaugural season for the Cityzens, with playing time harder to come by in 2019.

“I couldn’t be happier for Jesus, because he hasn’t shown his anger whatsoever,” captain Alex Ring said. “He’s tried to put his head down and work and good things happen. You stay positive, mistakes happen, but that’s the only way out.”