For the second time in four days, NYCFC rolled past the visiting Union at Yankee Stadium by a 3-1 scoreline, this time riding a goal and two assists from Maximiliano Moralez to a Knockout Round triumph Wednesday night.
The game played to a familiar script as the Decision Day presented by AT&T matchup between the Eastern Conference foes as the sixth-seeded Union looked out of sorts early against third-seeded NYCFC, who jumped ahead in the 10th minute on a brilliant Tajouri-Shradi blast following a cheeky flick from Villa.
Villa then doubled the host’s lead in the 26h minute with a perfectly placed shot past Union goalkeeper Andre Blake after Moralez set the Spanish star up on a counter.
Moralez put the finishing touches on the win for NYC with a second-half chip over Blake following a long over-the-top ball from Anton Tinnerholm sprung him free.
The Union, now 0-4 all-time in playoff games, didn’t register a shot on goal until Ilsinho danced through defenders and set up a late goal from Burke, who got the start after getting pulled from halftime of Sunday’s game following a spat with teammate Borek Dockal.
- 10' — NYC — Ismael Tajouri-Shradi | WATCH
- 26' — NYC — David Villa | WATCH
- 78' — NYC — Maximiliano Moralez | WATCH
- 83' — PHI — Cory Burke | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: People may have counted NYCFC out when they won just one game from mid-August until Decision Day. But the Cityzens reminded the league just how good they can be when everyone is healthy and how much of a nightmare Yankee Stadium can be for the opposition. It’s a good recipe as they look to now get past the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time. The Union, meanwhile, were one of the hottest teams in the league during the same stretch that NYCFC slumped. But a once-promising season ended with a whimper as Philly now head into an offseason of questions marks fresh off another early playoff exit and a rough loss in last month’s U.S. Open Cup final.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: No disrespect to Tajouri-Shradi’s golazo but Villa’s goal was not only a perfect team play but seemed to crush Philly’s spirits and all but determine the outcome before halftime.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Moralez had his team cooking all night. Can he help NYCFC match Atlanta’s star power in the next round?
- NYC: Eastern Conference Semifinals | Sunday, November 4 vs. Atlanta United
- PHI: End of season