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NYCFC II scores early, waits for the weather to beat Chicago 2-4

A dominant first half from New York City FC II led the team to a thrilling road victory against Chicago Fire FC II. The Baby Blues made six lineup changes following their midweek US Open Cup victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, dominating the home side despite a multi-hour weather delay that halted the match just before halftime.

On paper, this was a tough match for NYCFC II as their MLS NEXT Pro form struggled compared to their US Open Cup success. Entering this match, the Baby Blues were in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, with Chicago comfortably in fourth place.

GAME STATISTICS

New York City FC II: 17 shots, 9 shots on target, 47% possession, 335 passes, 79.7% passing accuracy, 10 errors, 3 saves

Chicago Fire FC II: 14 shots, 5 shots on target, 53% possession, 393 passes, 83.5% passing accuracy, 13 errors, 5 saves

Goals:
• New York City, Taylor Calheira 7′
• New York City, Jacob Arroyave 18′
• New York City, Drew Baiera 21′
• Chicago, David Poreba 57′ (penalty)
• Chicago, Drew Baiera 59′ (own goal)
• New York City, JJ Jiménez 72′

A first half with three goals

NYCFC II sprinted out of the blocks and struck first within six minutes of the opening whistle. A beautiful ball down the left flank from defender Christopher Tiao played through striker Taylor Calheira, who drove into the penalty area, cut the ball onto his left foot and fired his shot into the top of the net from close range.

The lead was almost doubled three minutes later when Klevis Haxhari took a corner that hit the woodwork. The New York City pulled away to celebrate what he thought was a goal, but the Chicago goalkeeper prevented the ball from crossing the line.

The match was still dominated by the visitors, who scored the second goal in the 17th minute. In an identical finish to the first goal, midfielder Ronald Arevalo set up Jacob Arroyave, who fired his shot into the top of the net from the same spot as Calheira had done earlier.

It took just three minutes for NYCFC II to grab their third of the match, when Haxhari played a ball down the right flank to Drew Baiera, who took advantage of a slip from the Chicago defender to charge home. He had runners in the center of the penalty area, but he decided to go it alone and threw the ball into the bottom left for his first goal of the season. As a result, the score was 0-3 for the visitors within the first 21 minutes of the match.

NYCFC II did not control the majority of the ball, but they continually turned Chicago around in midfield and played fast balls to their forward runners, trapping the home side out of position.

Weather delay allows Chicago to get back into the game

The game slowed down a bit after the third as Chicago went into crisis management mode. NYCFC II looked to be on their way to an easy victory, but in the 40th minute the match was postponed due to weather. The break lasted several hours, taking the wind out of NYCFC II’s sails and giving Chicago a chance to regroup.

The home side were let back into the game in the 55th minute when a poor tackle attempt by New York City defender Samuel Owusu led to a breakaway for Chicago’s Christian Koffi. Koffi drove into the penalty area and was then brought down by Haxhari, resulting in a penalty for the home side. Dawid Poreba stepped up and sent New York City goalkeeper Alex Rando the wrong way, cutting the deficit to just two.

Chicago continued to make a comeback. Just two minutes later, Romain Dontae Blake’s shot was deflected off Baiera’s back and bent past Rando to cut New York City’s lead to one.

But that comeback was canceled out in the 71st minute when JJ Jimenez fired a rocket from the top of the penalty area into the top corner of the goal. Jimenez continues his blistering form this season as both he and Calheria have shown excellent ability in front of goal.

Next: Toronto FC II, New Mexico United

Jimenez’s strike effectively ended Chicago’s hopes and put a ribbon on top of a dominant road victory for the Baby Blues. After the win, NYCFC II now sits in 7th place in the Eastern Conference and will host Toronto FC II in the MLS NEXT Pro match this Friday before hosting New Mexico United of the USL Championship on Wednesday, May 2 in the US Round of 16. Open cup.