New York City FC vs FC Cincinnati: Let there be goals

New York City FC (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
New York City FC (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /
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New York City FC
New York City FC (Photo by Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images) /

New York City FC finally scored, beating FC Cincinnati on Saturday

New York City FC met FC Cincinnati on Saturday night for the second time this season.  After coming off a tough 1-0 loss from Toronto FC midweek, and losing Héber due to an ACL injury, the pressure to win was immense.  More importantly, the team had to score goals, which has been a struggle throughout the season.

While NYCFC was three for three overall against Cincinnati, the Orange and Blue proved last time they could compete with the Pigeons, losing just 2-1 to the New York side.  With the last game’s result and NYCFC’s goal struggles, no one could guess which way the match would go.

Fortunately, NYCFC played as their lives depended on it, winning 4-0.  They started the game with a bang, with Romanian Alexandru Mitriță scoring just 30 seconds into the match.  Moreover, they also limited their opponents to a mere eight shots total and 39% of the possession.  A fantastic performance overall, the Pigeons reminded fans they are here, and they can still score.

Here are three things we learned from NYCFC’s win over Cincinnati.

3. COVID and injury concerns

Before the fixture even began, FC Cincinnati announced one of their players tested positive for COVID-19.  Later confirmed to be Nick Hagglund, one would have thought the game would be postponed.  To everyone’s surprise, it was not.  The Orange and Blue announced no one else had tested positive, and they would use contract tracing to identify who Hagglund was in close contact with.

Usually, a positive test would cause some form of postponement, even if it is just one player.  Plus, even though everyone else has tested negative, a player or staff member could easily test positive the next day.

Hence, playing the game was risky, and it was shocking New York City FC agreed to go through with the match.  More shockingly, Major League Soccer allowed the game to go forward.  If anyone else tests positive, then there could be issues down the road for both sides.  Hopefully, Hagglund remains the lone positive and gets better soon.

For now, both teams will be watched to see whether anyone comes down with the virus.  In the case that occurs, then new standards must emerge in MLS for any positive test.  No one wants to see another outbreak on any team, which is why every precaution should be taken.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 was not the only concern.  Unfortunately, NYCFC lost another player due to injury.  Alexander Ring had to go off in the 39th minute due to possible leg or knee injury.  The injury likely occurred when Haris Medunjanin kneed him right above around the knee ten minutes earlier.  At first, Ring tried to power through, but unfortunately, he could not continue.

As of now, the extent of the injury is unknown, but according to NYCFC announcer Roberto Abramowitz, Ring should be ready for the next game.  The team is already without Maxi Moralez for at least a few more weeks, who was injured in the last fixture against Cincinnati.

They cannot afford to lose another starting midfielder.  Furthermore, despite struggles, Ring has put his heart and soul into every match, which is part of why he is the captain.  Nonetheless, fans will have to wait until next week to see whether Ring is available.