At the least, for a night, New York City FC’s struggles came to an end.
NYCFC clinched its third straight trip to the MLS playoffs after taking down the Chicago Fire, 2-0, at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
NYCFC missed several chances in on goal in the first half. Maxime Chanot just missed two headers at the near post on two corner kicks, David Villa couldn’t beat Chicago goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland on two separate 1v1 situations and also missed high on what is usually a routine walk-in goal for the captain.
Alex Ring eventually opened the scoring in the 47th minute, drilling a shot on the first touch off of a backheel by David Villa.
Villa extended NYCFC’s lead just four minutes after, capitalizing on a cutback pass by Maxi Moralez to make it 2-0.
NYCFC also played very well in the defensive third of the pitch, holding the Fire to just six shots on the night and only one in on goal. That one was off of a scissor kick by Chicago’s Raheem Edwards in the 33rd minute, but Sean Johnson dove to knock the ball away for his first of two key saves on the night.
The win not only clinches a playoff spot, it also keeps NYCFC in third place in the Eastern Conference table as it looks to host the knockout round match with Columbus and Philadelphia not far behind in the standings.
With the loss, the Fire are eliminated from playoff contention as they have now lost four of their last seven matches.
Man of the Match: David Villa tallied a goal and an assist in NYCFC’s much-needed win Wednesday night.
Moment of the Match: Alex Ring’s goal to open the second half ended City’s scoring struggles in the opposing 18.
Match to Forget: The Fire’s Raheem Edwards was unimpressive and an afterthought throughout the night, especially as his scissors kick in on goal was routinely knocked away by Sean Johnson.