Alex Ring, battling Darlington Nagbe for the ball, snapped NYCFC’s 175-minute scoreless streak. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
It might be awhile before it can be ascertained whether New York City FC’s 1-0 home win over Columbus Crew SC will be the turning point of the season.
But for now, it certainly feels really good.
NYCFC walked out of Red Bull Arena with three points, winning only for the second time this season.
That collective sigh of relief you might have heard emanating from across the Hudson River came from New York City FC Monday night.
NYCFC improved to 2-5 and moved out of the Eastern Conference basement while Columbus (5-1-1) suffered its first defeat of the season.
Midfielder Alex Ring broke City’s 175-minute scoreless streak by connecting in the 59th minute. It wasn’t the most difficult goal to score, but they all count the same.
NYCFC certainly dodged some bullets as Columbus twice put the ball in the back of the net, but both times the visitors were ruled to be offside. The first occurrence came in the 10th minute when Gyasi Zardes had his goal called back because former Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne, Jr. was offside.
A minute into stoppage time, second-half substitute Fanendo Adi was about to celebrate his goal, but Columbus again was ruled to be offside.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who committed a howler that led to the Red Bulls’ goal in their 1-0 win over NYCFC Thursday, recorded the clean sheet. He denied Pedro Santos’ 17-yard drive in the 82nd minute with a diving save to his left.
On the NYCFC scoring sequence, Columbus defender Aboubacar Keita made a horrible blunder trying to clear the area and Heber intercepted on the left side. The Brazilian striker saw Ring on the right flank and slotted the ball to the NYCFC captain, who slipped it past goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell for his first goal of the season.
It also was Columbus’ second goal it had conceded this season.
Until then, NYCFC struggled big time in the final third, trying to get off quality shots. The hosts played without star midfielder Maxi Moralez, who still hasn’t shaken his calf issues.