New York City FC needed a hero after a sluggish outing against D.C. United Sunday evening and Thiago Andrade became that man.
NYCFC grabbed the two goals it needed to respond to Nigel Robertha’s early opener to earn its second win in a row, a 2-1 result that keeps Ronny Deila’s side fourth in the Eastern Conference after nine weeks of play. The hosts sparked a comeback through a Keaton Parks header in the 84th minute, taking every moment of stoppage time and a Thiago solo run to steal City its fifth win of the season.
Sean Johnson wasted no time getting the ball back into play from a corner as the four additional minutes were coming to a conclusion. His distribution found Thiago in a healthy amount of space, allowing the forward to use his speed to move up the field before referee Ismail Elfath could whistle for full time.
“As soon as I saw Thiago, I mean, that guy in space, you’ll take take your bets on him any day,” NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “So I just tried to give him a ball he could run on to and then honestly just laid on the ground until the ball was in the back of the net.”
THIAGOING THE DISTANCE FOR THE WIN 🔥🤯🤩 pic.twitter.com/ik5y4yC1U9
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) June 28, 2021
The Brazilian waited for the charging tackle of Donovan Pines to take a touch past the defender and buy him nearly an entire half’s worth of free space. Thiago switched the ball to his left foot to lose Pines when he eventually caught up, finishing the run with a calm shot past Bill Hamid.
“It was 70 yards I think, a sprint. Pines who I think was running with him — he’s not slow, so I think he was impressed with the speed of Thiago as well. I thought he was going to shoot on the first, then when went inside I was like ‘what are you doing? Put it in the goal!’ But then he took it on his left and it rolled so slowly into the goal.”
“Just unbelievable what kind of pace he has,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila added. “This moment here, you’re gonna remember,”
Thiago’s late winner marked his second goal for the club since arriving from Brazilian side EC Bahia last month. The 5-foot-11 forward made his mark off the bench in his debut as well, scoring a temporary equalizer in City’s 3-2 loss to the New England Revolution.
“That one gives me a lot of confidence to keep pushing and developing my career and growing,” Andrade said through an interpreter.
Having started the season with a reduced group of forwards that have been with the club for years, NYCFC was busy this spring bolstering its attack with three new signings. Thiago appears to be the standout addition early on as Talles Mango and Santiago Rodriguez work to full fitness with their new side.
Though Thiago hasn’t been given his first start in an NYCFC jersey, his performance and 53 minutes of playtime should move the 20 year-old one step further towards the starting lineup. He’ll have to battle the likes of Valentín Castellanos and Jesús Medina for a spot in Deila’s eleven, a realistic opportunity given the pair’s dry spells in front of goal.
“New York City FC completes its four-game homestand on July 8 against CF Montreal before a trip to MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field.