New York City FC scores six in club record-breaking win

Oct 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York City FC players celebrate after a goal against D.C. United during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York City FC players celebrate after a goal against D.C. United during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The pressure was on for New York City FC on Saturday night.  Finally back in the Bronx, the team was set to face D.C. United one last time in the regular season, and the match was a must win.  Sitting outside of a playoff spot, there was no space for error, and a draw would not be enough.  NYCFC had to win, and play their best football of the season.

And, with a 6-0 win, the Pigeons accomplished their goal, and took home all three points, with an exclamation point!  The six goals were the most scored in a game in the club’s history.  Furthermore, a fast start set the scene for the evening, for the first three goals came in the first eleven minutes.

To begin, some fans were barely in their seats when the first goal was scored.  Just 36 seconds in, Santiago Rodríguez recognized Malte Amundsen was running on the left side, and pushed the ball toward him.  The left-back saw Thiago open and ready, and with a flick of his foot, sent the ball toward the Brazilian, who immediately capitalized to put the Pigeons in front.

Then, not too long after, Valentín Castellanos found the back of the net in the seventh minute.  D.C.’s goalkeeper Bill Hamid could not properly clear the ball, and it landed straight at the Argentine’s feet.  Castellanos reacted instantly, and chipped the ball over Hamid and two other D.C. players.  It was an open goal, and NYCFC scored on a clear-cut chance.

New York City FC defeated D.C. United in a record-breaking 6-0 win

The striker was not done though.  In the 11th minute, once again, D.C. committed a mistake, and Castellanos had no one in front of him.  He ran directly toward Hamid, who was in the center of the goal, and put the ball past the opposing goalkeeper.  There was nothing that could be done, for the accuracy and pace of the strike made the ball impossible to stop.

After those three goals, the game did become more competitive.  However, that did  not last long, and there was still room for one more goal in the first half.  In the 44th minute, Castellanos attempted a bicycle kick, but Hamid made the save.  Yet, he could not hold onto the ball, and Maxi Moralez went after it and scored NYCFC’s fourth goal on the second chance opportunity.

In the second half, New York City FC was hungry for more.  In the 52nd minute, Amundsen, who had a spectacular match with his servicing into the box, spotted Alexander Callens.  The center-back called for the ball, and the Danish player served his cross to his teammate.  In seconds, Callens headed the ball past Hamid, and finally got his first goal for the season.

Later on in the 74th minute, the often criticized Jesús Medina, who came on as a substitute, scored the record-breaking, sixth goal of the evening.  An assist from Tayvon Gray led to that historic goal, in which once again, Hamid could not stop.

Other things to note

While the battle for the playoffs is not over, this win will hopefully set the tone for the last three games.  New York City FC cannot falter now, and must continue to score.  Fortunately, two of the final three matches will be played at Yankee Stadium, where NYCFC is 5-1-1 in 2021.  More importantly, Gudmundur Thórarinsson’s goal against Atlanta United officially broke the scoreless streak, and the Pigeons can score again.  Clearly, this is seen with the six goals.

Speaking about Thórarinsson, the left-back missed the fixture due to a slight injury, and Amundsen had to step up.  On Saturday, he did just that, performing well, both offensively and defensively.  His service into the box was finally on point, and his ability to move up and down the pitch gave NYCFC the opportunities they needed.  He had two assists on the night, and even two shots as well.

Meanwhile, Sean Johnson was able to keep the clean sheet with three saves and one punch.  The captain’s performance might get lost from all the goals, but nonetheless, he had one of his better games of the season.  He kept D.C. out of goal, and did not give them a chance to attempt a comeback.

Overall, this was an incredible team performance.  The Pigeons had 21 shots with 15 on target, and had over 64% of the possession.  Defensively they were compact and concise, and offensively ran all over their opposition.  And of course, the record-breaking six goals is a moment no one will forget.

Saturday’s fixture showed what this team is capable of, and now New York City FC must play this way in their last three games.  They are now back above the playoff line in fifth place, but they must finish the regular season with a bang, and grab the remaining nine points.