NYCFC show swagger in come-from-behind US Open Cup win at DC United

WASHINGTON — It’s not just the extended run of results. What has New York City FC coach Dome Torrent most excited is the style his team is showing while earning them.

It happened again Wednesday night, when NYCFC overcame Wayne Rooney’s early goal to complete a thoroughly deserved 2-1 win over D.C. United at Audi Field in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.

Rooney’s opener spurred the visitors into another gear for the final hour, with Alexandru Mitrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi putting the visitors in front within nine minutes of going behind.

By the time the evening was over, the Cityzens had outshot the Black-and-Red, 20-8, led 9-3 in efforts on target and held 57 percent of the possession to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 12 matches.

“We play the last month, maybe, with personality, and I’m very happy,” Torrent said. “When you play, take the ball, pass the ball. I like to have the control. … I’m used to working in that way the last 11 years at my former teams, and why not here? Because we have quality to play that way.”

Despite a halftime lead that should’ve forced D.C.’s hand, and a hamstring injury that saw Heber leave after 46 minutes, New York remained in control in the same stadium where their blazing form began.

In that April league meeting, it was easy to attribute NYCFC’s 2-0 win to Heber’s first start following his arrival from Croatia’s top flight. And they still haven’t lost in a game the Brazilian has played.

But now, captain Alex Ring said, the overall end product is good enough they believe they can survive any injury absence, for a short time at least. He pointed to how well City’s back line did limiting Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez without starting defenders James Sands and Alex Callens.

“Guys stepped up today,” Ring said. “So yeah, it’s a chance for the other players to step up. And in the last few months they’ve taken it, the moments they’ve had. I think it’s about getting [Heber] quickly back, and in the meantime the other guys will perform for us.”

Heber was scheduled for an MRI Thursday. A team spokesperson said the club doesn’t believe the injury is serious, and NYCFC have 10 days before their next league match against Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia on June 29.

There’s also the matter of an Open Cup quarterfinal against Orlando in early July, with a win there bringing the club even closer to a first-ever trophy. And if Wednesday night’s impressive performance didn’t prove how important that is, Ring said it should.

“I think you saw by the team we played today, we tried to play with the best team we had,” Ring said. “We play for silverware. That’s what I said at the beginning of the season. We don’t want it to be for nothing.”