New York City FC keeps busy, looks to stay fresh against playoff-bound Chicago Fire

Jack Harrison has scored a pair of September goals after a two-month drought.
Jack Harrison has scored a pair of September goals after a two-month drought. Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police; Twitter via @109NYPD

During a punishing multigame week, it’s impossible for the responsibilities of carrying a team to fall on one person.

Luckily for New York City FC, Jack Harrison’s form makes it a lot easier.

The 20-year-old Englishman provided all the flair in the team’s 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday in Canada. It marked his second winning goal of the month and provided nonstop energy for a team in the middle of a tough stretch.

David Villa sat out most of the match, part of a typical rotation to keep NYCFC’s (16-8-7, 55 points) star fresh. But before Harrison’s Sept. 6 winner, the young scorer hadn’t netted a goal since June 29. He has 10 goals on the season, and if he’s going to go on another spurt of scoring like the beginning of the year, now is the time.

The Blues have already clinched a playoff spot but still have a lot to play for in their three remaining games. If they can hold on to the second spot in the Eastern Conference, they’ll get a bye to start the postseason. They sit three points ahead of expansion Atlanta United, which has a game in hand, and four ahead of the Chicago Fire, Saturday’s opponent on the road.

The Fire (15-10-6, 51 points) is fresh off clinching its first playoff berth since 2012 after back-to-back seasons in last place. The club has had bad stretches this season but already owns three wins in September.

For NYCFC, David Villa has been getting back into the swing of game action after being sidelined earlier in the month. Ronald Matarrita played Wednesday for the first time since June, bolstering a back line that has been struggling with injuries this season.

There’s no rest for the weary, however, as NYCFC inches closer to postseason soccer.