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NYCFC coach Domènec Torrent shakes up tactics, leans on Maxi Moralez in back-to-back wins

New York City FC midfielder Maximiliano Moralez (10) celebrates with midfielder Alexander Ring (8) in front of New York Red Bulls defender Kemar Lawrence (92). (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

New York City FC’s new head coach, Domènec Torrent has revealed an assortment of systems, shapes and principles in his four matches with the boys from the Bronx.

On Saturday against the New York Red Bulls, Torrent’s game plan demanded a direct style of play that left NYCFC with an ugly 1-0 win over their rivals.

There was little resemblance to the ideologies Torrent has promoted since his arrival from Manchester City.

“I don’t like to play that way we did that game but for me, it was the best way to beat the Red Bulls,” Torrent told Pro Soccer USA before Wednesday’s match versus the Montreal Impact.

He explained that after the franchise was outscored 27-3 in eight Red Bull triumphs, something had to change.

“OK, you can pass the ball all the time, but you have to be clever and say that we lost the games, we have to play another way,” Torrent said. “That is the reason that we played a little more different the last game. Believe me, I don’t like to play long ball, but sometimes it’s the best way to beat the opponent.”

NYCFC attempted 375 passes in the Red Bulls encounter compared to 730 in a 3-0 home victory against the Impact.

Moralez is big enough

New York City FC midfielder Maxi Moralez was acquired from Club Leon in Liga MX with little fanfare prior to the start of the 2017 MLS season.

Sure, he was a Designated Player who would earn $2 million annually from the club. Yes, he had four years of high level experience as a midfielder for Atalanta in Serie A.  But at 5-foot 3-inches and 115 pounds there were skeptics who pondered how Moralez would handle the physical nature of MLS matches in the center of the park.

Without injured strikers David Villa and Jo Inge Berget, Moralez played the No. 9 and converted a game-winner late in the Hudson River Derby on Sunday. On Wednesday, he reverted to his normal playmaking role and picked up a pair of assists in a dominant 3-0 triumph over the Montreal Impact.

“Maxi is able to play the No. 9, No. 10, No. 11 and 7,” Torrent said. “Because the quality of Maxi is high.”

The 31-year old now has seven goals and 10 assists in 2018 – surpassing both categories from 2017 (five goals, nine assists) with 15 regular season games remaining. Moralez is one assist shy of the franchise single season record set in 2016 by Andrea Pirlo.

As for the grind in an MLS midfield – Moralez is fourth in the league in fouls suffered but the diminutive Argentine has endured the punishment without issue. He has played all but 14 minutes in New York City’s 19 games played.

 

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