The Perfect Start (Snap Judgments: New York City FC vs. Toronto FC)

Robert Cole/ALOST


akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief


NEW YORK — In making his managerial debut with New York City Football Club, Domènec Torrent, somehow, could not have made being a head coach in the pressure cooker that is the Big Apple look any easier; Less than 48 hours ago, Torrent was still on European soil and, just 24 hours after that, was leading his first – and only – training session before his first game in charge.

And on Sunday, he led his new squad to a victory over the defending Major League Soccer champions.

New York City striker Jo Inge Berget made sure Torrent’s debute was a successful, scoring twice in the second half as NYCFC pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium, extending the team’s unbeaten streak at home to eight games (seven wins, one draw) to begin the season.

Today marked a new era in New York City football after former head coach Patrick Vieira departed the team two weeks ago to take the head coaching position at Ligue 1 side OGC Nice and Torrent, a longtime assistant under current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, taking over the club. Despite seeing games of NYCFC from afar in preparation for taking over the team, he was only able to join the club earlier this weekend after obtaining his work visa earlier in the week.

But after one game, it’s “so far, so good.”

““It was not easy for me because it was a crazy week,” Torrent said about his last 48 hours. “We’ve been traveling, but in the end, everything was good. Yesterday was the first training session for me and I think the players are ready. I watched the whole training session and when I saw the intensity and the aptitude, I said, ok, they are ready to try to win the game, but it’s not easy.”

The goings-on were definitely far from easy for New York City in the first half, which not only saw them go down a goal after an exquisite chip by Toronto FC midfielder Víctor Vázquez over goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the 37th minute, but also saw what appeared to be a knee injury suffered by forward and team captain David Villa, who had to be replaced in the 27th minute.

Showing some of the resilience that their head coach had to show during the weekend, New York City responded in the second half, as Berget, who started the game playing behind Villa but then moved to the top of the formation after Villa was replaced, tallied in the 51st minute to tie the game with a cheeky back heel effort that went through a defender’s legs and into the net after a goal-line scramble inside of the penalty area. Berget then provided the game-winning goal in the 68th minute off of a counterattack, taking a pass from midfielder Maxi Moralez before smashing a low shot to the far post past Toronto FC goalkeeper Alexander Bono.

“Yeah, it felt good,” said Berget about his two-goal performance. “It’s one of those things where the ball bounced my way, it’s not every day where the ball ends up in the back of the net. It was one of those days where it bounced my way.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday evening’s game, with all photos taken by our senior photographer, Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 21 pictures in total.

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