The Union were destroyed 3-1 on Wednesday night in New York City by a superior team.
Only a cosmetic goal by Cory Burke from Ilsinho near the end stopped a dominant NYCFC performance from being a shutout.
Union first XI: Andre Blake; Keegan Rosenberry (C.J. Sapong 71′), Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Ray Gaddis; Warren Creavalle (Ilsinho HT), Haris Medunjanin; Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal, Alejandro Bedoya (Derrick Jones 82′); Cory Burke
NYCFC first XI: Sean Johnson; Anton Tinnerholm, Max Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ben Sweat; Alexander Ring, Yangel Herrera (Eloi Amagat 80′); Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Ebenezer Ofori 63′), Maxi Moralez, Ronald Mataritta; David Villa (Valentin Castellanos 84′)
As they did on Decision Day, NYCFC started brightly. The Union were hard-pressed to get anything going as City pressured them relentlessly and turned defense into possession quickly time after time. It didn’t take long for City to light the scoreboard like this, as Tajouri-Shradi took a pass from Max Moralez off of a turnover near the Union box and rifled a shot first-time past the helpless Andre Blake in the tenth minute. More of the same followed, and even as the Union grew into the match slightly, they still couldn’t string passes together like they had most of the season. Maybe it was the bad pitch in New York, maybe it was the New York defense, but it didn’t happen. In the 26th, City doubled their advantage through the ageless David Villa, who took a pass from Moralez and placed it where Blake couldn’t reach it at the far post. The shot didn’t have a lot of steam on it, but it knew where to go courtesy of Mr. Villa. From there, the Union started generating a little bit of offense, but not nearly what they needed. A dangerous Villa free kick at the top of the box was pushed wide at the end of the half, and the teams went in 2-0.
Jim Curtin started Warren Creavalle in the destroyer role with Bedoya up on the right wing in the hopes of slowing down City’s attack and retrieving the ball. That didn’t happen (although Curtin said in his presser after the match neither goal was Creavalle’s fault, Warren didn’t exactly cover himself in glory either) and Creavalle was subbed out at half for Ilsinho, with an eye to needing more offense. The U threatened here and there with City’s foot off of the pedal, content to counter more through Moralez and Villa. It was City who scored next as well, on long ball played into the box that Andre Blake came out for but could not reach before Moralez placed a delicate chip over the Jamaican keeper and into the net. From there, City had a singular hiccup as it allowed Ilsinho to dance into the box while drawing three defenders and then fed Cory Burke for what amounted to a gimme in the 83rd, but they saw the match out comfortably.
The City press was thoroughly disruptive, effectively shutting down the Union offense and turning defense into goals. Yes, NYCFC plays on a laughably small pitch and yes, the pitch was poor due to the fresh sod that was laid down, but both teams had to play on it. This was a poor end to what could be deemed the best season in Union history. For their efforts, they take home the memories of a 3-0 loss in the Open Cup finals to Houston, and this 3-1 shellacking in New York City. Many questions await the team and coach, and we’ll be back with more as it happens.