Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates his goal against the Columbus Crew SC. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
New York City FC has served notice to the rest of the Eastern Conference that it is a team to be reckoned with.
Case in point:
City has rolled over its opposition in its last two matches.
On Sunday, July 25, the home side thrashed Orlando City SC, 5-0, at Yankee Stadium.
On Friday night, NYCFC rolled past defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew at home, 4-1.
The result boosted City (8-5-2, 26 points), which has won three consecutive matches, into second place in the conference, seven points behind leader New England Revolution (10-3-3, 33). Columbus (6-4-6, 24) dropped to sixth place.
Luis Barraza’s bid for his third consecutive clean sheet was thwarted seven minutes into second-half stoppage time as Pedro Santos converted a penalty kick. His shutout streak was snapped at 297 minutes.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 31, 2021
“We love to play at home,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila said. “We love to have our fans there. It is special. You don’t just score goals because of the stadium. It is a factor. It’s because we play really good football. We are very disciplined. We are very organized. We are playing each other in good situations and then you can see how many goals we had. Everybody plays to make teammates good and you create a lot of chances.”
NYCFC scored early and often, taking advantage of a porous Columbus defense and backline.
Tata Castellanos lifted the hosts into the lead in the 14th minute off a Jesus Medina feed.
Thiago doubled the lead with a spectacular chip shot in the 35th minute. Alfredo Morales sent him a long ball down the left flank. The Brazilian forced Eloy Room out of the net and then blooped the ball into the net.
Keaton Parks took advantage of a disorganized defense, off a Thiago feed in the 51st minute to make it 3-0.
Midfielder Santiago Rodriguez put home the fourth goal, his first goal with City, in the 64th minute.
“Well we won by several goals, so that gives us lots of confidence,” Rodriguez said. “I also scored, so that also helps my confidence on a personal level.”