ORLANDO, Fla. — While the search for a striker continues for New York City FC, the team revealed goal scoring ingredients from the second tier of its attack during a 2-2 draw Saturday at Orlando City Stadium.
Midfielders Ebenezer Ofori and Alex Ring exposed striker tools to account for the pair of Pigeon goals.
“Everybody knows we need a striker, but look what happened,” head coach Dome Torrent said. “If you can play and create space for our midfielders in the second line, they can arrive to score a goal.”
Ofori arrived in the supportive pivot position at the 13-minute mark and collected a pass from right wing Jonathan Lewis. The Ghanaian’s second touch was a low driven shot past the outstretched right hand of Orlando City goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
A review of the goal suggests the Lions were stunned by the result of the long-distance shot. Veteran Lion Will Johnson appeared to step aside to permit the 25-yard strike.
While shocking to some, City midfielder James Sands said the Ofori finish was not a case of serendipity.
“He does that a ton in training – it’s not new to any of us,” the 19-year old Homegrown said after earning a start in the regular-season opener. “So I think that’s something we can look forward to more the rest of the season. And the same thing for Alex – both last year were used more defensively but they definitely both have a lot of quality going forward.”
“Yeah, guys used to tell me you don’t have to score in training you have to score in games,” Ofori said. “It happened so I’m very happy and they are very happy for me, too.”
Orlando players Dom Dwyer (14), Will Johnson (4), and Nani (17) celebrate with Tesho Akindele (13) after Akindele scored the tying goal during the New York City Football Club at Orlando City Soccer MLS match at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, March 2, 2019. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
With Sands set up in a deep-lying position, Ofori and Ring were given liberty to make calculated advances into the attack. Ring drifted between defenders and collected a firm pass from Alexandru Mitriță before lifting a shot over Rowe from 10 yards out – a striker’s touch at the stroke of halftime. The 2-0 advantage evaporated in the second half.
“I’m not playing as a 6 at the moment. I’m playing higher and I get closer to the goal, so maybe now and again I’ll find what works,” Ring said after scoring his third career goal. “In the end, it didn’t get us the three points. So in the end, it didn’t really matter.”