A day after returning from Gold Cup duty, Mix Diskerud makes big impact for New York City FC

NEW YORK – Mix Diskerud had a lot to think about as he took a late night drive home from Philadelphia on Saturday.

Fresh on his mind was the US national team’s disappointment in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a tournament that kept the midfielder on the road – and away from New York City FC – for the better part of a month.

“It’s been a month with the same hotel rooms and same food for a long time,” Diskerud said. “Of course I love the Gold Cup, it’s something for me that two or three years ago helped me become a regular on the national team.”

And then the midfielder’s thoughts drifted to NYCFC and a critical Eastern Conference clash with Orlando City SC on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

“I wanted to make an impact,” Diskerud said. “I was thinking about it on the drive from Philly [on Saturday], to come in [Sunday] and let's do something, make something happen.”

That’s just what Diskerud did after coming on for Javier Calle in the 68th minute. He was dangerous from the outset, using his fresh legs to run at Orlando City’s defenders. And moments after Kaká struck the post with what would have been the equalizer in second half stoppage time, Diskerud closed out an impressive 5-3 win with his second goal of the year against the fellow expansion team.

Diskerud also scored NYCFC’s first-ever goal in a 1-1 draw in Orlando in March.

“It’s nice. [Kwadwo] Poku gave me that goal,” Diskerud said of the NYCFC midfielder who had three assists in the game. “It’s always nice to help the team. They probably would have won without me, but it’s also nice to be a part of the victory.”

Before Diskerud’s ride home, NYCFC coach Jason Kreis had a lot to think about, too. As he watched the Gold Cup’s third-place match Saturday at PPL Park, Kreis decided that if Diskerud played any more than 30 minutes he’d be unavailable for Sunday’s match against Orlando.

But Diskerud didn’t play at all in the USMNT’s shootout loss to Panama, leaving him available for Sunday's encounter at Yankee Stadium.

“When they made that third substitution, we really started pushing to get him back,” Kreis said. “We’re pleased to get him back, pleased to have him contribute in a positive way.”

Diskerud was happy to be back, happy NYCFC was victorious and happy to be on the field with Andrea Pirlo, who made his MLS debut Sunday. A year ago, Diskerud tweeted that Pirlo was his favorite player. Now they are in the same midfield.

“When I wrote that I didn’t really know I was going to play with him a year later,” Diskerud said. “Of course it’s huge. For me he’s a player I’ve looked up to for a very long time. I love his style and I’m going to try to learn as much as possible every single week and day I train with him.”