It took more than a month for New York City FC to find the win column, but the club is positioned to finish April on a win streak if it can get past Orlando City at home Saturday.
Valentin Castellanos netted his first goal of the season in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire. A team that couldn’t find the net for much of the season suddenly has six goals in its last three games. The period includes a win against the Eastern Conference-leading D.C. United.
NYCFC (2-1-5, 11 points) goes for its third consecutive win when Orlando City (3-3-2, 11 points), tied with the Blues for sixth in the Eastern Conference, visits Yankee Stadium. Three games within a week make for a quick turnaround, but after the way the season started, they come at the perfect time for coach Domènec Torrent.
“I say to them, sleep well, rest well, because it is important to recover some players,” Torrent told reporters Wednesday. “The effort was unbelievable on this night. We are ready to play against Orlando.”
One starter who wasn’t ready to play Wednesday was Alexandru Mitrita. The forward suffered an ankle injury against D.C. United last Sunday. His absence gave Castellanos the chance to return to the starting lineup, and he delivered. It’s the kind of spread out success that has carried NYCFC this stretch — three players lead the team with two goals each this season.
Another important component has been Sean Johnson’s play in goal. The veteran keeper recorded his second clean sheet in a row and his third in the Bronx this year.
“For our keeper, for our defenders, it’s good news,” Torrent said.
Orlando City will provide another test for that back line. The Lions haven’t been shut out this season.
“We haven’t lost many games, but we haven’t won many, so it’s good for the confidence of the group to be able to get wins together back to back,” Johnson said. “Now, having another game at home, I think that stretch is important.”