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Richy Ledezma delivers Man of the Match performance in first NYCFC start


Richy Ledezma’s first month with New York City FC is coming to an end and after making three-straight substitute appearances for the Eastern Conference club, Ledezma delivered a Man of the Match performance on Saturday in his first start.

Ledezma registered one assist and played 61 minutes in NYCFC’s 2-1 home victory over Nashville SC, giving the PSV loanee a boost of confidence heading forward this season. The 22-year-old got the nod over Santiago Rodriguez in Nick Cushing’s starting lineup at Citi Field, setting up Maxime Chanot off a corner kick for NYCFC’s second first-half goal.

After totaling 73 minutes coming into Saturday’s match, Ledezma made the most of Cushing’s trust in starting him for the first time.

“It felt amazing, getting to play with my teammates.” Ledezma said. “You know I’m new to the team so it’s been tough weeks you know, but they’ve been welcoming to me and even the fans. The fans are amazing here at Citi Field and at Yankee stadium, but I’m enjoying my time here so far. It was an amazing feeling for sure.”

“We have a guy like Richy Ledezma that is really hungry to get the start,” Cushing said in regards to starting Ledezma. “It just felt like, between myself and Santi [Rodríguez], like the right thing to do. Between Richy and I, go get yourself in the rhythm.”

Ledezma’s loan move to NYCFC was a needed one for the young midfielder, after only totaling 13 combined minutes in the Netherlands this calendar year. Not only did Ledezma register his first MLS assist in Saturday’s win, he created the most offensive chances (4), had two positive opportunities of his own to score, and drew one foul.

Ledezma started alongside fellow U.S. men’s national team midfielders Keaton Parks and James Sands on Saturday, all of whom who will be fighting for international opportunities this summer for the Concacaf Gold Cup. Both Sands and Parks haven’t had ample time to work with Ledezma since his arrival, but praised the midfielder’s impact on Saturday and believe in him to continue improving this spring.

“I thought especially Richy [Ledezma] coming in today,” Sands said about Ledezma. “He’s had his injury struggles in the past but you see when he’s playing, he’s a top top player, so adding him to the group is going to be a big bonus and the fact that he’s a young American is nice and I think we could build chemistry a little bit easier as well.”    

“It was fantastic,” Parks said about Ledezma. “I thought he played a hell of a game. He was a well-deserved man of the match and he did great. I wish he could have gotten a goal or another assist. He was in all the right spots today so I am happy for him.”

NYCFC’s victory snapped a three-match winless run and the Eastern Conference club will next host FC Dallas on April 22.


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