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A First in Many Ways for NYCFC

by Ohio Digital News

A first in so many ways was this NYCFC 2-0 win over New England, Saturday evening at Yankee Stadium. They dominated most of their possessions in the first half and 19-year old Agustin Ojeda scored his first MLS goal in the 57th minute.

For a team that has struggled to score early and often, this was the beginning of four at home in the Bronx and at Citi Field. The win also gave NYCFC (2-4-1) those elusive three points in the Eastern Conference standings and that has been a rarity.

And this was a win that coach Nick Cushing has been looking for. He said the past few weeks his team was close and on the verge of being dominant, though in this league scoring early will make a difference.

Ojeda, the young forward from Rosario, Argentina has played a combined 37 minutes as a substitute in his first four career matches. Cushing, though, is known for making changes in the lineup and Ojeda delivered with a right-footed shot that went in the net. He nearly got another goal in the 59th minute that was stopped.

It was a goal that NYCFC needed early. Significant, though, for Ojeda who became the fifth youngest NYCFC player to score his first goal and sixth before turning 20 years of age. A late addition to the roster because of Visa issues, he is expected to be in the lineup next Saturday evening at Citi Field in another conference matchup with DC United. Cushing has admired Ojeda’s work ethic, preparation, and gave the youngster an opportunity that showed progress last month at St. Louis.

He hadn’t been involved in our team but when you give a guy a taste, it gives him something to work for,” said Cushing. “And when he went in and did okay in the St. Louis game, it’s a difficult place but he’s part of our team. I want them to know that. You’re an important guy for us but then you have to work on all of the things that will get you a start in the team and that will give you the opportunity to be on the team sheet.”

During the week, we were talking about how we had to win this match to be there fighting to stay in playoff contention and personally, I felt very good and I look forward to keep contributing,” Ojeda said through an interpreter. “I expect that we are going to come out and give our all once again as we did today in order to win and continue playing this way.”

Yes, this was a first for the youngster, but too early to be concerned about playoff contention with a long season ahead. However the addition and contribution of Ojeda is something every team looks to build upon.

Cushing referred to that goal scored and a late one from Julian Fernandez in stoppage time as his team continued to dominate possession. Fernandez netted a shot inside the left post and keeper Matt Freese made five saves for his career high seventh clean sheet. Freese managed to stop a late goal with his right hand in the 79th minute before the ball got into the net and a block from NYCFC defender Birk Risa.

I thought it was a team performance for the whole 90 minutes, which is, you know, probably the first or second one we’ve had all season,” he said. “And I think it shows what we can do when we’re all firing on all cylinders altogether.”

It was a clean win and everything about what Cushing has envisioned based on the past two draws with Miami and Atlanta.

But for me, it’s about going back and reviewing the game and seeing what we were very good at,” said Cushing. “There will be many parts. Then working out what we need to improve at because this team is making progress and we’re going to enjoy it tonight, but we’re going to work hard.”

But a first for a NYCFC team that can capitalize on this win during an extended homestand. The goal from Ojeda was a first and so many things worked to their advantage. Freeze made the saves and that second goal in the last four minutes from a young team showed progress.

A young team, a new team, guys with huge potential,” said Cushing. “We just got to keep progressing and keep working to the plan and keep staying together. You know like I said, I can see the progress and I think we will continue. I will continue to push the guys. I can guarantee you that.”

This win was a first in many ways.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

The post A First in Many Ways for NYCFC appeared first on NY Sports Day.

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