The Revs started without a full-strength XI, with MVP frontrunner Carles Gil still out injured and Matt Polster (returning from injury) and Gustavo Bou (featured in Wednesday’s All-Star Game presented by Target) both on the bench. Tajon Buchanan had a one-game sit-out after missing the All-Star Game to seal a January transfer to Belgian side Club Brugge. Right back Brandon Bye remains out as well.
NYCFC held the possession and shots advantage in the first half, and looked the stronger side, especially in the fast-paced first half-hour, though the Revs had perhaps the best chance in that time frame from Adam Buksa's header off a corner kick.
The Cityzens' goal came just after that match milestone, with Moralez playing a well-timed pass that just caught Henry Kessler keeping Castellanos onside. Castellanos went airborne to powerfully head past Matt Turner, but the assistant ref raised the offside flag, meaning a Video Review was needed to confirm a goal celebration was in order.
Moralez and Castellanos connected again in the 55th minute, with Moralez slipping as he delivered a cross, but still getting it solidly into the path of a charging Castellanos for the emphatic finish – his 10th of the 2021 season. It was nearly a Taty hatty six minutes later as Castellanos had a chance on a third, and then Jesus Medina missed back-to-back opportunities, including a 62nd-minute header that he couldn't get down, despite being wide open and close to goal.
Bou and Polster were activated in the second half, with Bou coming on as a halftime sub and Polster spelling Arnór Traustason in the 57th minute. But New England couldn't generate much even with the personnel changes, and will now have to wait until Friday for their next chance at being the first team to reach 50 points this season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Revs didn’t have all of their first-choice starters available, and the Cityzens took advantage of that to secure a big three points. While the Revs still hold a significant lead in the East, it looms large that Gil remains out. For NYCFC, it counts as a statement win and shows that maybe they’re among the MLS Cup hopefuls peaking at the right time.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Both goals had their merits, though the first one had some luster taken off it by Video Review needing to confirm that it was legitimate. But with the second goal, there was no doubt.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Both Moralez and Castellanos were excellent, and not just for the goals. But the edge goes to Taty for twice being the finisher and reaching the 10-goal mark after just 20 matches this season.