Valentin Castellanos scores for NYCFC in the first half. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

BRONX — New York City FC defeated Columbus Crew SC Wednesday night, moving within a point of Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta United FC and the Philadelphia Union.

Valentin Castellanos scored the lone goal of the match in the 36th minute to boost City to a 1-0 win before a crowd of 19,828 at Yankee Stadium.

The victory (44 points) lift NYCFC to a 12-5-8 mark as it has a game in hand on Atlanta (14-9-3, 45) and two on Philadelphia (13-8-6, 45). Columbus (7-15-6, 27), in 11th place in the conference, had its six-game unbeaten streak snapped.

“It’s important to get the three points when you have [games in hand],” NYCFC head coach Dome Torrent said. “I’m very happy for the three points. Maybe we played one of the best first halves of the season and one of the worse second halves of the season. I’m not happy about that because they were amazing, but when I say at halftime play in the same way, but quickly and we have them pressing again. My feeling right now we didn’t respect the game and everyone was playing different positions. I have to convince them if they play long ball, they have to have control and have this quality to play.”

While City moved closer to first place, defender Anton Tinnerholm wasn’t impressed with the team’s performance.

“Today we managed to get the clean sheet and we got the three points, and in the end, that’s what matters,” he said. “But to be honest, we’re having a little bit of a down point at the moment. We haven’t played as well, but in the end, we manage to get three points. It’s the same against Houston. It’s the same against Cincinnati. And then today, it’s the same. We don’t manage to play our best, but we get the three points. You have to be happy with the three points, but we have to improve the way we play.”

Castellanos struck for his 10th goal of the season and his fifth tally in his last four matches, thanks to Maxi Moralez’s league-best 17th assist.

Castellanos latched onto a chip from Moralez before finishing past goalkeeper Eloy Room.

Taty Goal | NYCFC 1-0 Columbus Crew SC

Taty hits ten on the season to give NYC the lead in The BX!

Posted by New York City FC on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Video courtesy of NYCFC’s Facebook Page

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson was credited with the clean sheet.

NYCFC will host the Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby Saturday at 7 p.m.

“It’s an important victory that we needed,” Castellanos said. “This game gives us confidence going forward, and against the Red Bulls, it’s a derby so it’s an important game and we need all three points. Hopefully, we can get the three points for the fans.”