Wayne Rooney told his DC United players ahead of the season, “There’s no way I’m going to bottom again.”
Though DC’s 1-1-2 record is just beginning after New York City FC clinched a 3-2 win, they simply can’t afford a first half like Saturday night’s at Yankee Stadium, and they won’t line up at the wrong end of the table again.
It wouldn’t have been a surprise if the visiting head coach had heard more swearing in the visitors’ dressing room during the break.
Nick Cushing’s NYCFC finished third in the Eastern Conference last season, 28 points ahead of DC, and they have strong foundations. The maturity in their game plus quality on the ball said.
The hosts were sharper in every department, taking just 17 minutes to get the first goal.
Talles Magno scored the first goal in just 17 minutes, tapping the ball in from close range
Santiago Rodriguez doubled the hosts’ lead 20 minutes later after managing the offside trap
Rodriguez is surrounded by his teammates after scoring New York City FC’s second goal
For striker Talles Magno, missing the goal was harder than scoring as he faced the simple task of slamming the ball in from just yards out.
Space was created by Keaton Parks’ defence-splitting pass to full-back Braian Cufre at the overlap. New York City was behind DC and Magno waited in the middle for the square pass.
Cufre complied and despite having to reach slightly backwards, Magno found the net. But the hosts had to wait for confirmation after the linesman flagged for offside.
Referee Mark Alllatin was sent to the pitchside monitor to watch the replay after the goal went on video review. After some delay, the opening goal fell.
Magno had already given the visitors a warning in the first 10 minutes but couldn’t complete his shot properly when the ball fell in his path in the penalty area.
Just moments after being the top scorer, Matias Pellegrini almost scored what would have been a contender for the goal of the season even at this early stage.
The forward saw DC goalie Tyler Miller wide of his goal and tried his luck from the halfway line. His aim was off but the shot stopper had to climb.
Christian Benteke stunned New York City early in the second half, retrieving a goal
DC were set up to crush their opponents in a 4-5-1 formation and they struggled to have any appreciable possession in the first half, with former Premier League striker Christian Benteke an isolated lead .
He provided the opportunity for DC’s first shot of the game when he held the ball well and passed it to Nigel Robertha after half an hour.
The 25-year-old had only one thought in mind, to slide the ball inside and shoot at goal with his left foot. NYCFC goalie Luis Barraza was called out and saved the ball.
Ten minutes later, New York City, with little effort, smashed their way through the DC defense again to double their lead.
Santiago Rodriguez overcame the offside trap with DC light at his back after Pellegrini played a clever pass over the line from off the boot.
One on one with Miller, Rodriguez pushed home.
But Rooney and DC have quality in their team and that could eventually take them up the table. In the second phase there were improvements.
Former English first division clubs Benteke and Mateusz Klich can create something from nothing, and midfielder Lewis O’Brien is on loan from Nottingham Forest.
DC United’s Russell Canouse (6) battles for the ball against New York City’s Matias Pellegrini
Former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace forward Benteke stunned the home side and NYCFC supporters right after the break after the break when he rose high to put a header into the net.
With just one goal, DC always had a chance. They almost equalized in the 69th minute when Barraza was forced into a double save.
New York City tried to control the late stages of the game, but DC still had hope with no sign of a third goal.
Another cross to Benteke, this time at the far post. He did a spectacular overhead kick and loosened up his lines.
Almost immediately after substitute Thiago Andrade scored the third goal of the game in a one-on-one in the 88th minute. Game over? NO.
There was life left in DC as they once again conjured something out of thin air. Captain Steven Birnbaum headed the ball past Barraza from a corner kick.
Benteke and Birnbaum could have equalized in added time, but their efforts went terribly wrong.
DC has quality but also a lot of struggle. They simply gave themselves too much to do on this occasion.
Whatever Rooney said at halftime worked. Maybe his pre-season message will get through at some point, too.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11876851/New-York-City-FC-3-2-DC-United-Wayne-Rooneys-do.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 New York City FC 3-2 DC United: Wayne Rooney’s side are trying too hard