New York City will start the new season of MLS 22 as the defending champions. This was the first time in the history of the club that they won the MLS cup. Let’s have a look at how they made this possible.
New York City started their 2021 season with a defeat in their opening game against DC United 2-1, where they dominated the game but could not convert their chances. This defeat was a bit upsetting as they were able to beat the same team two weeks prior in a friendly match. After this, they went on an unbeaten run of 4 games (winning 2 and drawing 2), before losing to the Columbus Crew 2-1. The game was pretty much in control of NYC till the 80th minute, Columbus Crew then pulled out a miracle and scored 2 goals, with the winner coming in the 90+5th minute.
After such a disappointing loss they were able to win their next game against LA FC 2-1. They could not win against the inform team New Englands in the later game. The following four games were a bit topsy-turvy where they won the first two games and lost the other two. The Columbus Crew were able to beat NYC again. It was then followed by an unbeaten streak of 6 games which consisted of 4 wins from which 3 were successive and two matches ended as draws.
The next four matches were totally different than the previous games. NYC were handed defeats 3 times from Philadelphia, New England and Nashville. Although in the reverse fixture with New England they were able to win quite comfortably. This affected the points table as NYC could not grab enough points which put pressure on them. Advancing to the last part of the season, it was clear enough that they have to grab maximum points to grab a place in the play-offs
So it started with a draw against Nashville which was followed by a defeat against the New York Reds Bulls. This sent NYC into the panic zone as they then had to grab points from all of their remaining 5 games. A draw with Atlanta United gave them a point that was not sufficient to be in the race for the playoffs. NYC then went on to win the next three matches which gave them the opportunity to fix a place in the playoffs. A draw in the last match against Philadelphia took them to the 4th sport of the East conference. They were equal on points with Atlanta United and Orlando City but were ahead on goal difference.
Their first-round match of the playoffs was against Atlanta United which they won conveniently 2-0. This win put them in the semi-finals against the conference leaders New England which NYC won after winning the penalty shootout 5-3, as the game ended 2-2 after extra time. Qualifying for the finals of the East conference for the first time in their history they played Philadelphia Union was an important match as it could see them through to the MLS cup finals. They won the Conference finals 2-1.
Facing Portland in the MLS cup finals was not that easy. It was going well for NYC with the single goal they scored in the 41st minute. It was going to end in the favour of NYC but Portland scored the equalising goal in the 90+4th minute to take the game into extra time. It ended 1-1 A.E.T., but NYC won on penalties. This was the first time in their history that they won the MLS. Maxi Moralez, the midfield player made 13 assists, the most for NYC. Valentin Castellanos was the top scorer for NYC with 22 goals.