The Fire and New York City FC played to a 1-1 draw that didn't distinguish either team as a clear cut favorite to finish above the other in the race for positioning in the Easter Conference playoffs. Both played through a fairly conservative match that yielded few clear chances although the overall play wasn't bad. Both teams travelled after mid-week games, which could have had some effect on the legs of players ahead of an international break for most teams in the league.
Bastian Shweinsteiger returned after missing four games but didn't make a big impact despite playing as an advanced midfielder ahead of the central pairing of Dax McCarty and Djordje Mihailovic. Of immediate concern is the condition of Michael de Leeuw, who was helped off the field in the 28th minute after suffering a potentially serious knee injury. David Accam also appears to be laboring and not at full speed.
GK Matt Lampson (5) – Only two saves on the night, with one being a clearance of Moralez's shot from the top of the box in the 65th that was cleared out of trouble. Decent in distribution. Too easily rounded by Villa in the 43rd in New York's only score of the night.
D Brandon Vincent (6) – Fair service into the final third during the first half but saw less of those chances in the second. Completed 88 percent of his passes and NYC didn't have much generated from their right side.
D Joao Meira (5) – Caught ball-watching for a split second late in the first half, which was just enough time to allow Villa to slip behind him and get to goal. Important stop late in stoppage time denied a chance in front of the net.
D Johan Kappelhof (6) – New York didn't have many real chances and overall, the Fire didn't do badly in limiting Villa's touches in dangerous areas. An alert interception from Kappelhof kept him from getting a clear look just six minutes before the goal.
D Matt Polster (6) – Put pressure on Moralez in his own end and caused the turnover leading to the Fire's lone score. Didn't find the space that he did on Wednesday night but completed 86 percent of 49 passes.
M Dax McCarty (6) – Kept the Fire moving, although New York controlled a possession advantage 56-44. Active while completing 90% of his passes but the Fire weren't dangerous in the second half.
M Djordje Mihailovic (5.5) – Paired with McCarty centrally, active in the early going with a much more quiet second half.
M Luis Solignac (5.5) – Led a ball into Nikolic in the eighth minute that was well placed but Nikolic was just ahead of the play and offside. Run up the left side in the 75th could have resulted in a chance but his pass was intercepted before any damage could be done.
M Michael de Leeuw (6) – The Fire looked like they might have more of an attack brewing before he was injured in the 28th minute. His absence was notable.
M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) – His run into the area in the 20th minute was stopped by multiple defenders but it resulted in the ball coming loose to Moralez and was followed by his mind-boggling dance back toward his own goal and the Fire's score.
F Nemanja Nikolic (6) – Scored the Fire's only goal by opportunistically picking up the ball from Moralez immediately in front of the NYC net. A couple of half looks early on, but like almost everyone else there was less activity in the second.
M David Accam (5) – Replaced de Leeuw in the 30th minute but was clearly not at one hundred percent and couldn't generate much going forward. Some activity around the hour mark, but he was removed late in the game, as Paunovic played it safe regarding his fitness.
M Bastian Schweinsteiger (5.5) – Came into the match in the 72nd for Alvarez. Managed to get one attack forward in the 75th but relatively quiet from then on.
D Jonathan Campbell (5.5) – Subbed in for Accam in the 86th with both teams apparently looking to hold onto the point.