Playing on the road Easter Sunday afternoon at Audi Field in the nation’s capital, New York City got its first win of the 2019 season. Prior, the team had one loss and five draws through its first six games. Sean Johnson had three saves to earn the clean sheet.
“Today, [we] deserved to win this game because I know how hard they work every single day at our facility,” said Doménec Torrent, NYCFC’s head coach.
New York City defender Anton Tinnerholm added, “I think if you look at our defense [on Sunday], that’s the best in four months since I arrived back here.”
Following the team’s wild 3-3 draw with Minnesota United the week before, NYCFC defensive effort was much improved and the offense showed signs that it was beginning to gel.
Mitriță and Héber were strong from the start with Mitriță just missing on a curling shot early on.
But Mitriță would not miss in the 35th minute. The Romanian international off a feed from Héber was able to sneak the shot past DC United’s Bill Hamid to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
New York City had a chance to double its lead just before halftime, but a penalty kick by Maxi Moralez smacked off the right post and out. The spot kick was awarded after Tinnerholm was fouled in the box.
Early in the second half, Héber would score his first Major League Soccer goal in the 56th minute. After taking a well-placed feed from Ronald Matarrita, Héber’s shot would find space between Hamid’s legs and into the back of the net, giving NYCFC a two-goal lead.
“It’s important to be confident because always the chances come,” Héber said. “When the chances come you need to be ready to score.”
The head coach added about the team’s newest signee, “I am sure we signed the right player. If you want to play him in the spaces, it’s good news for New York City. I am very happy for him because he’s a good player and he’s a good guy.”
New York City will have little time to savor its first win of the season. The team will return home to welcome the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. Game time at Yankee Stadium is 7 p.m.