Anton Tinnerholm (right) celebrates his goal against the LA Galaxy. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
BRONX — Alex Ring says that he and Anton Tinnerholm speak the same language, Swedish.
More importantly, the right back is speaking the same language on the field with his New York City FC teammates, assimilating himself with the team quite well, thank you.
It was never more apparent than Sunday, when the Swedish native played a solid defense and scored City’s first goal – and his first in an NYCFC uniform — in what turned into a 2-1 victory for the hosts at Yankee Stadium.
So far, so very good for the 27-year-old Swede.
“Anton’s a real good professional,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “The way he trains, he’s got good experience. He played European football. He played with Malmo. He’s bringing competitiveness, experience to the squad. He’s really vocal. He’s a winner on and off the field. He will be a good help.”
Tinnerholm already has been, helping City to its best start (2-0) in its four-year history.
“It can’t be better. to be honest,” he said. “I wanted a clean sheet today but the main thing is the three points of course. The bonus is that I scored. I think we showed today that we’re going to be a really good team especially in the first half where we dominated the game. We needed to score a three-nil score there and the match was going to be dead. We didn’t, but the team keeps fighting.”
Ring, who hails from Finland, has roomed with Tinnerholm on the road. So, the players have gotten to know each other much better.
“He’s doing well,” Ring said. “I can see that from his first practice. I would describe him as a typical Scandinavian guy. Same attitude, same way about the way he thinks about life. So, it’s very easy to be with him.”
Asked what he thought Ring meant by that, Tinnerholm replied, “Normally we’re working very hard but i don’t know what’s a typical Scandinavian. I don’t know what to say. I’ll have to give you something the next couple of days.”
Someone mentioned to Ring, a defensive midfielder, that Tinnerholm has scored, but he hasn’t. Ring is in his second season with the club.
“He’s more offensive than I am,” he said. “I have to stay and watch for him when he loses the ball.”
Ring then laughed.
What Tinnerholm did in the 22nd minute Sunday certainly wasn’t a laughing matter to the Galaxy.
David Villa crossed the ball into the middle of the box from the right flank. Center back Michael Ciani cleared the ball, but an overlapping Tinnerholm intercepted and drilled a short-range volley that bounded off the crossbar and into the net past goalkeeper David Bingham.
“The ball bounced to me and I got a great hit,” he said. “It’s that simple. “I am not used to scoring with my lefty, but today it was the day. I got a great hit today.
“Not even in training have I scored any goals like that. It couldn’t be better to score it at the home opener, to be honest. I’m not used to scoring goals like that.”