Thanks to their supporters, New York City FC entered Yankee Stadium with all the confidence in the world. Despite the efforts of those in the stands, the Blues were eliminated by Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday night.
The faithful fans, known as the Third Rail, energized the home team to win the game, 2-0. But the score was not enough to conquer the aggregate, which favored Columbus 4-3 at the end of the two-game series.
“They gave everything they had tonight,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “I’m really proud about they way that they played and they fought tonight.”
Forward winger Rodney Wallace took a foul in the box that resulted in a penalty kick for his team. David Villa, the captain, stepped up to the line and calmly struck the ball in the net to give NYC a 1-0 advantage in the 16th minute.
NYCFC carried the momentum into the second half, after a riveting performance in the first 45 minutes. They held the ball for 63 percent of the match, which favored them over Columbus’s 37 percent.
City led in shots throughout the game, 16-10, with six of those being on target. The post aided Columbus keeper Zack Steffen in the 70th minute, as Wallace ripped the ball into the left post and out of bounds after an impressive cross from Jack Harrison.
For the second consecutive season, NYCFC earned a No. 2 seed but was eliminated in the semifinals. Vieira thought his club had the opportunities at hand to change their fate.
“Of course I’m disappointed we are not going to the conference finals,” Vieira said. “I felt like there was space there to score the third goal.”
The Blues were one goal away from facing the team that eliminated them last year, Toronto FC, who advanced by eliminating the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.