Concacaf Champions League: NYCFC makes it look easy in 2022 opener

New York City FC got two goals from 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos in the first half and cruised to a 2-0 win at Costa Rica's Santos de Guapiles in the opening game of the 2022 Concacaf Champions League.

The 2021 MLS champions had plenty of chances for more goals -- Maxi Moralez had a shot that hit off both sides of the goal -- and held on for the last 21 minutes after Uruguayan Santiago Rodriguez was sent off for a red card.

“We had full control of the game," said NYCFC coach Ronnie Deila. "You can see that (Santos) didn’t create anything. Even with 10 men, we were really solid and disciplined. Also the big chances we created, we should have scored a little more. When we got the ball to the front three players, we created chances over and over again.”

Castellanos, Moralez and Rodriguez were among seven starters in MLS Cup 2021 who started on Tuesday night. With James Sands now at Rangers and Alfredo Morales out with Covid, Gedion Zelalem got the start in midfield. The former Arsenal protege, now 25, started only one game in his first two seasons at NYCFC but was re-signed for 2022.

“I’ve believed in Gedion all the time," said Deila. "He has been here for two years but has been injured all the time. The reason we have kept him was because we know he has quality that not many players have this in this league. Technically, very gifted, good awareness, good understanding of the game. I have a lot of expectation of Gedion for the future. He’s on the right path to get to the level he was at before.”

Next up.
No stadium in the New York area is available or suitable for Concacaf standards, so the return match will be played at LAFC's Banc of California Stadium on Feb. 23.

2 comments about "Concacaf Champions League: NYCFC makes it look easy in 2022 opener".
  1. R2 Dad, February 16, 2022 at 12:21 p.m.

    Santos were so poor, this was not a huge accomplishment. Zalelem in the Pirlo role seems promising--he's just about as mobile, unfortunately. NYCFC outside backs are useless. I just saw backpass after backpass after backpass--it was hurting my eyes, really. Good result, considering.

  2. Santiago 1314, February 16, 2022 at 11:50 p.m.

    WOW.... "No stadium in the New York area is available or suitable for Concacaf standards"... Really, with all the Stadiums in New York !!!... Have you seen the Fields in CONcacaCrApF.!?!?!?.... And NY can't find a Field for Home Game.???... We'll I guess we know what City WON'T Be Hosting a World Cup '26 Game.!!!!

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications