NYCFC Tops Vancouver To Clinch Playoff Spot

NYCFC, Gary Mackay-Steven
Gary Mackay-Steven celebrates his goal with midfielder Maxi Moralez. Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA Today Sports

New York City FC (NYCFC) has clinched a playoff berth with its 3-1 road win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

The victory was the fourth in a row for NYCFC and fifth in the team’s past six games. With 50 points, New York City now sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Philadelphia Union and two points ahead of Atlanta United. City has played two fewer games than the Union and one fewer than Atlanta.

NYCFC got on the board early as Héber in the 10th minute was able to get on the end of a through ball from Alexandru Mitriță and using the outside of his foot finished for a 1-0 lead.

A concern for New York City came 11 minutes later when Héber was forced to leave the match with an injury. In his post-game press conference, head coach Doménec Torrent said Héber had discomfort in his quadriceps that will require further examination when the team returns to New York.

His replacement, birthday boy Gary Mackay-Steven would make an immediate impact with his first Major League Soccer goal in the 26th minute.

“I think it’s a first (time he’s scored on his birthday) so it’s nice to get off the mark,” Mackay-Steven said. “Extra special it’s my birthday, but the main thing is getting the three points and I thought the boys did really well today, so it’s a good victory again.”

In the second half, Vancouver picked up its pace of play and would pull a goal back. In the 64th minute, Yordy Reyna’s shot from the left of the NYCFC goal would find the top corner to cut the visitor’s lead to 2-1.

But just eight minutes later, New York City would put an end to thoughts of a Whitecaps comeback. Mitriță would take advantage of a set-piece and hit a blistering shot from about 25 yards out that would find its way over the wall and sneak inside the near post.

Up next for New York City is its September 7 home match against the New England Revolution. Kickoff at Yankee Stadium is 3:55 p.m.