Sep 5, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City defender Anton Tinnerholm (3) defends against New England Revolution forward Cristian Penilla (70) during first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
BRONX, N.Y. — The New England Revolution snapped a nine-match winless streak and handed New York City FC its first home loss this season with a 1-0 victory in front of an announced crowd of 18,884 at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.
Brian Wright scored the lone goal in the 70th minute — his first Major League Soccer tally — and the Revs (8-10-9, 33 points) weathered a late storm to secure three massive points in their hunt for a playoff spot.
“From the first day that we started the team, even in training session, we’ve never given up,” New England coach Brad Friedel said. “We’re not going to give up. We still have a game in hand over Montreal and we play them, so that will put our destiny is in our own hands.”
Second-half substitute Diego Fagundez started the sequence by picking out Cristian Penilla on his left. Penilla fired a low shot toward the far post that Sean Johnson stretched out to save. The rebound popped out to Wright, who tapped it in.
It was his last touch of the game before subbing off for Isaac Angking.
“I knew I was about to come off. Someone said to me to just follow shots in, and the keeper cleared the ball right to me and I just got my left foot right through. It was an unbelievable feeling to be quite honest, knowing it was the game-winner, but also to help the team,” Wright said. “I know people are out right now — suspended, hurt and whatnot — it feels good to step into the role that Teal [Bunbury] has been doing all season, and a great job for us, and show that we do have some depth on this team.”
Wright, who played just 117 minutes in eight appearances over the course of two seasons, also had the Revs best chance of the first half when he intercepted a failed clearance and had Johnson beat. But the Toronto native’s shot caromed off the left post in the 25th minute.
“They say strikers got to have a short memory,” Wright said, adding that he stayed motivated by “having my teammates also out there encouraging me, all the guys, the veterans telling me to keep going and keep doing what I’m doing well, essentially.”
The match to that point was dominated by NYCFC, who outshot the Revs 28-11 but only put five attempts on frame and were punished for not being decisive in the final third.
NYCFC (14-8-6, 48 points) has lost three of its last four matches and has just one win in the last seven games. But coach Dome Torrent’s focus after the match was on how his team played Wednesday rather than the cumulative struggle.
“Today I’m proud of them because they played really well,” Torrent said. “The difference is you have to be clinical when you have the clear chance. We need to recover our confidence in each other. I’m not angry with them today.”
Five minutes into the game, Ronald Matarrita burst up the middle of the field and his deflected cross was hammered off the crossbar by New England defender Michael Mancienne for what was nearly an own goal.
Four minutes later, Valentin Castellanos snuck behind the Revs defense, chested down a floated ball by Matarrita and took a touch into the box. But Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton easily saved his shot.
In the 17th minute, Alex Ring made a determined run into the box after being played through by Maxi Moralez, but Knighton made a comfortable save.
Sebastien Ibeagha latched onto a Matarrita cross, but his downward header bounced just wide in the 21st minute.
NYCFC’s frustrations continued after halftime, with David Villa putting a first-time shot over the crossbar after a Matarrita cross in the 54th minute and James Sands pushing an open header wide of the net following a Matarrita corner kick three minutes later.
Moralez picked out Villa with a cross in the 67th minute, but the NYCFC captain’s full volley deflected out for a corner kick.
Although it was a second consecutive loss, Torrent’s feelings after Wednesday’s loss were much different than the defeat at Columbus on the weekend.
“I’m not happy about for the result, but I’m happy for the way we are able to play,” Torrent said. “That is the best way to improve. The last game we played really, really bad — I’m very angry with them. But today, they deserved to win the game.”