Talk about teams on different paths this season, FCC is sitting in first place and running into very few hiccups this year. They knocked off NYCFC in the Open Cup this season with a 1-0 win in round 4, they would go on to play the NY Red Bulls in the Round of 16, and it would take penalties to get past the other struggling New York side. The win in the Open Cup was FCC's first win over the boys in blue across all competitions in their history. FCC is now (1W,2D) over the last three meetings. NYCFC is entering the match after suffering its first home loss this season, it was a bad loss to a decent Philadelphia team. The 3 - 1 defeat also marked the team's 4th straight loss to a single opponent. Only the NY Red Bulls have beaten NYCFC four times before the last match with the Union. FCC is the fifth team in MLS history to collect at least 33 points from its first 14 matches of a season, with the previous four all going on to win the Supporters Shield. Cincinnati has reached that mark with a goal differential of +8; the other four have done it with a +18 or better goal differential. An important note of FCC's 10 wins this season nine came from one goal difference. That's four more than any other team this season. In all 9 of those wins the goal came before the 75th minute, including Badji's 33' goal against Colorado on Saturday. Also, important to note, fans and media are not blaming Nick for the current state of the club, but you have to wonder what the front office will do if they don't come out with a victory.
Young Steven Turnbull of Stony Brook University will be in tonight's starting eleven for NYCFC. Talk about an amazing local kid with an amazing story in his rise to the MLS ranks. The Holtsville, New York native on Long Island struggled to reach this point, he had a stellar college career out in Stony Brook, NY for Stony Brook University. He is a midfielder who can explode on the ball and take on wingbacks to set up scoring opportunities as well as bury some balls from deep. It will be an interesting matchup for him tonight, FCC sits at the top of the chart with a talented midfield and backline. I look forward to seeing Stephen rise to the occasion and turning heads tonight at Yankee Stadium, an iconic stadium in New York. A field we all grew up dreaming of stepping on the field even if it was for a different sport.
The match starts with NYCFC in control of possession but not bending the FCC backline or even close to the final third yet. Turnbull finds Pereira in the box, and they nearly convert for a goal. Gabriel's shot deflected out of play in the 10'. The center awards a corner kick and FCC is already starting issues inside the box, grabbing players. The center delays the restart and has a word with the FCC players. Play resumes in the 11' and the corner goes well past everyone for an FCC throw-in. Gray has a backward problem; he seems only capable of going in one direction and not in a good way like the band. He seems to look goalkeeper and then a center-back, meanwhile, midfield and wingback are wide open to push FCC backward and create chances on the goal. The NYCFC corners have been awful so far early in the match, we have played 19' and only 2 real opportunities have arisen for either side. Turnbull has been the most creative member on the pitch, so far tonight creating multiple chances for his side. Turnbull gets his first professional shot on the goal from 15 yards right of the goal. He was trying to pick a corner, but the ball went flat on him and to the keeper. The shot came in the 21', FCC counters but Turnbull is in the area and clears it out, then Turnbull blocks a shot on the goal from 7 yards out left side of the goal near the post. Goal Gabriel Pereira, the center has taken it away, Armando Villarreal called the weakest foul in the history of the game. We're back to 0 - 0 in the 33' of play. Nick Cushing is shown a yellow card in the 36' for protesting the horrible calls by the referee tonight. Just like the match against the Red Bull the FCC diving leads to a goal, Acosta with the goal in the 38' from the top of the box, driven into the upper 90 unmarked as Parks was out of position. The king of the dive Acosta started the entire brawl at midfield and goes unpunished for it. While Cufre is issued a yellow card in the 41' and ow in the 43' FCC is shown a yellow card, it is shown to Yerson Mosquera. A minimum of 4' has been shown by the 4th official. In the 45'+5' a yellow card is shown to B. Vazquez for a midfield foul.
A sad note NYCFC hasn't won when trailing at half this season, it's not spelling well for the NY side. Maybe they can get a last-minute goal like the other New York team did on FCC. It's gut-wrenching when a center gets the call wrong, and a good goal is taken away. NYCFC will have to find a way to get back into the match fast and get the crowd back into the game.
The second half sees Acosta shown a yellow card in the 50' after he again gets into Park's face and tries to start stuff. What a header by Cufre, it took an amazing save by Celentano to keep it 1 - 0 FCC in the 52'. Now a yellow card is shown to Maxine Chanot for a foul, midfield about 45 yards to the goal. In the 56' a yellow card is shown to James Sands on a midfield challenge for the ball. A shoulder-to-shoulder challenge is now a foul in professional soccer in America in the 57'. Also, in the 57' Gray is shown a yellow card on what appears to be another fair challenge. The yellow card foul gives FCC a chance from 22 yards out and they score to make it 2 - 0, both goals coming tonight after questionable foul calls. This goal was awarded to Alvaro Barreal off the free kick. There is a saying you can't beat a ref and boy does it still reign true today. Morales enters for Gray in the 60' for New York, FCC almost makes it 3 - 0, a huge save by Freese. Goal NYCFC in the 65' off a Turnbull throw-in that found Morales, he flicked it into the box and Cufre made Cincinnati pay, it's now a 2 - 1 match. A minute later Gabriel Pereira is shown a yellow card. Any other game that's probably not called a Penalty Kick, but with tonight's official we can expect nothing less. The man is auditioning for Ted Lasso's newest show "No One Like's a Referee." Vazquez steps up and converts the penalty kick bringing the lead back to two with a 3 - 1 lead now in the 70'. Acosta should be taking a shower in the 75', but he gets away with just a foul call even though he was way late on the challenge. The match ends and it was an ugly loss in the Bronx, for NYCFC and their fans. There is plenty of blame to go around and yes the center referee will be the top man on that list. The game was already a tough match for an injured and battered NYCFC roster, add the center to it and it was an impossible climb. The players however never gave up and kept pushing to find more goals. With the second youngest team in the league, that will only go so far and for so long with the fans. The transfer window will be telling for the City side, who now drops officially to 14th just barely above Inter Miami. The youngster Stephen Turnbull had himself a match, he played all 90 minutes, recorded one shot on target, an 83.8% passing accuracy rate, 1 chance created, 37 total passes (31 of them accurate, and 17 passes in the final third.