Keaton Parks celebrates his goal with Jesus Medina. (USA TODAY Photo)

HARRISON, N.J. – New York City FC’s best offense came from its defense Saturday night.

Right back Anton Tinnerholm scored the winning goal and set up the insurance tally in the second half to boost NYCFC to a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire FC in a closed-door match at Red Bull Arena.

Keaton Parks and Alex Ring also round the net for City (3-5-0, 9 points), which won its second consecutive match. Chicago fell to 2-5-1.

“We had a rough start, there’s no doubt about it,” Tinnerholm said. “We had a lot of meetings and things got better. But in the end we have to show it on the pitch. It is easy to talk but harder to perform out there. We showed it today and we showed it against Columbus that we can do it. I think the second half we were dominating the game; the Chicago players were so exhausted in the final 15 minutes that they can’t even press us.”

Standout midfielder Maxi Moralez, who has been bothered by calf issues for the past month, came on as a halftime substitute to give the hosts a much-needed boost as he set up Tinnerholm’s winner.

“Today is the first time that I have seen Maxi so fresh,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila said. “You can see that he has no pain, and you can also see how good he is and how vital he is for the team. We created a lot of chances and played a really good second half. I am eager to see the future but just want to play games now.”

Moralez intercepted a poor clearance before sending a short through pass to Tinnerholm on the right side of the box. The right back fired a 10-yard shot to the far post to snap a 1-1 deadlock in the 53rd minute.

The Argentine standout was just happy to be back in action.

“At the beginning in Orlando I felt really good, but then I got the injury and wasn’t able to recover until today,” Moralez said. “I’m really happy with everyone that helped me recover. Today I played well. Together we played well. My leg is a lot better and I recovered quicker than I hoped and now I’m 100 percent and ready for Wednesday’s game [against New England].”

@mmoralezoficial finds @antontinnerholm for the lead! 🕸 💥 #nycfc

Posted by New York City FC on Saturday, August 29, 2020

Parks’ first goal of the campaign lifted NYCFC into the lead in the 16th minute. Alexandru Mitrita threaded a perfect ball from the right flank to Parks, who beat goalkeeper Sparrow Connor.

Keaton Parks with the beautiful finish to put the City Boys up one over Chicago Fire 🎯

Posted by New York City FC on Saturday, August 29, 2020

 

The early minutes were a back-and-forth affair as both sides had their opportunities.

Chicago’s best early chance came seven minutes after the opening whistle when keeper Sean Johnson was forced to parry away Fabian Herbers’ shot from outside the box.

As the opening half wore on, NYCFC started to dominate.

NYCFC center back Maxime Chanot came tantalizingly close in the 20th minute when his header hit the post off a Jesus Medina corner kick.

The hosts came within a foot of doubling their lead in the 39th minute. Sparrow dove to his left to knock away Mitrita’s blast from distance. Medina, however, placed the rebound just wide left.

Only seconds before halftime and two minutes into stoppage time, Chicago tallied a devastating goal to equalize. Álvaro Medrán floated in a corner kick that : Francisco Calvo nodded on to an unmarked Mauricio Pineda. The rookie slotted it home as Johnson got a hand on it as the ball went went into the goal.

After Tinnerholm’s first goal of the season Heber came close to making it a two-goal bulge two minutes later but his close-range attempt hit the right post and bounded away.

Johnson almost made his second howler on the team’s return to home play this month as he gave the ball away to Elliot Collier from just outside the box. Collier blasted a shot that center back Alex Callens made a goal-saving stop at the right corner in the 74th minute.

A minute later, Ring scored his second goal in as many games off a nice feed from Tinnerholm to give NYCFC some breathing room.

🇸🇪 🤝 🇫🇮 #ForTheCity

Posted by New York City FC on Saturday, August 29, 2020

Videos courtesy of NYCFC’s Facebook page

“Now we have some confidence,” Tinnerholm said. “You can see it in the guys. It’s fun to come in a play some games again, now we have to keep on the momentum that we have started.”