Jesus Medina (right) came through when it counted. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
BRONX — With the game and three points on the line Saturday, Jesus Medina decided to take things into his own hands.
Or in this case, his feet.
After City was awarded a penalty kick in stoppage time against the New England Revolution, the second-half substitute wanted to take the spot kick.
Maxi Moralez usually takes PKs for NYCFC, but has converted only four of seven attempts.
“Maxi, asked me if I was confident and I told him I was,” Medina said. “I needed it and I think he knows that, and so he gave me the opportunity and I’m happy I was able to get the winning goal.”
Medina put the ball away for his second goal of the match six minutes into added time to lift NYCFC to a 2-1 comeback win at Yankee Stadium.
“When I say soccer belongs to the players, it’s about that,” head coach Dome Torrent said. “If you have confidence in the moment, take the ball and shoot the ball.”
Medina entered the match for defender Sebastien Ibeagha on the hour. City was trailing 1-0 and needed some offensive pop.
“We’ve said many times that soccer belongs to the players and I believe in that,” Torrent ssaid. “It’s not the manager, it’s not the coach, it’s about the players. Right now, they work very hard in the facilities and it’s important that every single player is ready to play. We lose Heber, we have another player. I’m very happy, especially for Jesus because before the game I said you have to be ready against New England.”
He was. Only 10 minutes coming on, Medina struck for the equalizer before his 11th-hour heroics.
The victory boosted NYCFC into first place in the Eastern Conference.
“It was a very important victory,” Medina said. “We’re conscious we can finish in first. We had to win at home, and we were able to do it. It was a hard-fought victory, but we’re a few games away from our goal which is to finish in first place.”
NYCFC has won five consecutive games.
“We’re aware we’re playing well,” Medina said. “We have a few games at home that are very important, so we have to continue to work hard and stay focused.”