Yankee Stadium’s namesake tenants have won 27 championships. New York City FC, who earned a first-round bye in the playoffs with a 4-1 win over Columbus Crew in the Bronx on Sunday, looks to follow in their footsteps.
NYCFC came into the game needing a win to lock up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference but could also have settled for a loss or tie by Toronto FC against the Chicago Fire.
Although Toronto won, 3-2, it didn’t matter as City controlled the offense against Columbus right away with a goal from Steven Mendoza. Columbus came out attacking in the second half, as Ola Kamara headed a goal in to take away NYCFC’s lead.
City’s offense impressed those in attendance on Fan Appreciation Day, with the team scoring two goals in two minutes at the feet of Jack Harrison (75’) and Khiry Shelton (77’). The final goal from David Villa in stoppage time came off a Frank Lampard assist, in the latter’s first appearance back since being sidelined Sept. 17.
Villa finished the season with 23 goals, one behind Bradley Wright-Phillips of the New York Red Bulls for the golden boot.
The Crew allowed 22 goals in the last 15 minutes of games this season. NYCFC capitalized on that trend, as they have scored 17 goals in the last 15 minutes of games, the second most in the MLS.
City now awaits to see who their opponent is following the knockout round games, which take place Wednesday and Thursday. They will face the highest seed to advance from the knockout stages beginning Oct. 30.