The early stages of New York City FC’s first year under Ronny Deila got off to a bumpy start, but since then the Eastern Conference side is finding its groove during the final stage of the regular season.
NYCFC picked up an important 3-2 road victory over Inter Miami on Saturday night, remaining in the hunt for a top spot in the Eastern Conference. It was NYCFC’s eighth league win since mid-July and its second over the past week in conference play.
Despite a rocky start to life in MLS, Deila is getting the best out of his players and the goals overall haven’t changed.
“We want to win, we want to play on the 12th of December. That’s their goal,” Deila said after Saturday’s win. “That’s possible. We have a strong team. We’re hard to beat.”
“We have a great team spirit as we showed today. We just need to keep on working, improving and get prepared for every game and we have to try to get as high as possible in the league. But it’s been a tough season for us with a lot of things, we play more away games than the others, we had Columbus and Toronto in the beginning, It’s tough. And we had a bad start, but we have bounced back and we are playing really really good now in over two months and that’s something we just have to keep on doing.”
Both Alexandru Mitrita and Anton Tinnerholm found the back of the net for the second-straight game in what ended up being a thrilling affair from Fort Lauderdale. All five goals came in the opening 45 minutes, which saw NYCFC pegged back twice by the hosts.
Alexander Ring registered three assists while Mitrita now has four goals over the last two games. The Romanian striker has stepped up big time in the absence of Brazilian forward Heber, who will not play again this season through injury. After seeing its lead slip twice on Saturday, NYCFC are happy to keep its good run of form going in what is looking to be a stacked top of the Eastern Conference table.
“These are the best victories, to get something when maybe you don’t deserve it but at the same time deserve it because you’ve managed to suffer and keep the goal clean in the second half,” Deila said. “So this I think is going to be massive for us, these three points when we look at the season at the end.”
Five of NYCFC’s six league defeats this season have come against teams higher than them in the standings, however, the club is fighting tough to stay in touching distance of the top four after Saturday’s latest victory. After an important three points away from home, NYCFC will next host struggling D.C. United and New England in its next two matches.
Matches against Columbus, Toronto FC, and Orlando City still remain on the schedule, but with NYCFC riding high on confidence, they could boost their chances for a possible No. 1 seed heading into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“Obviously we want to finish as high as possible to give ourselves a chance to go on and do something special,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We put ourselves in a good position now, I think we’re just gonna have to keep building on the performances.”
“We’ve had a lot of different games, it gets a lot of different opponents and I think tonight we saw something a bit different where we have to battle through tough circumstances tough conditions,” Johnson said. “But at the end of the day, it was about having each other’s back then and I think we can really take this experience moving forward and couple that with the way we’ve been playing on the ball going back home now for two games, we have something added to us that we didn’t have previously.”