Major League Soccer benefits from New York City FC's strong start

Every footballer loves scoring a goal–but what about scoring a goal with your first touch on the ball? Patrick Mullins did just that on Sunday night and secured New York City FC’s first win in club history. In the words of elated beIN Sports color commentator, Ray Hudson, “IT WAS A GOAL OF ORGASMIC PROPORTIONS.”

There were two wins in the Bronx on Sunday evening. One was sealed by Patrick Mullins in the 84th minute off a beautiful feed from the star of the night, David Villa.

The other win was for Major League Soccer. Analysts have been awed by the staggering attendance numbers in the past two games for the Light Blues. 60,000 were in attendance for the opening match of the season between NYCFC and Orlando City. 43,000 were there to witness the first ever home game played in Yankee Stadium for the newly formed club. That number is particularly intriguing given the Yankees’ attendance this past year during Derek Jeter’s last hurrah.

The Yankees averaged a respectable 41,995 during a living legend’s final campaign. No one will argue the unwaivering support of Yankee fans but the numbers don’t lie, the people of New York have been waiting for a soccer team to represent all five boroughs and have a stadium….within those boroughs  (sorry Red Bull fans).

More impressive than the statistics was the cohesive and exuberant manner of the fans. The atmosphere was lively to say the least and every time Villa or Diskerud were on the ball in the final third, fans were on the edge of their seats as if Jeter was at the plate with runners in scoring position.

Unison chants of “NYC!” “NYC!” echoed through the new Yankee Stadium, reminiscent of Lake Placid in 1980, where the famed “USA” chant started during the Miracle on Ice . One thing that can be said about New york sports fans is that they truly understand the game, whether it’s a great box-out from a Knick (which has been virtually non-existent as of late), a Ranger dashing to the other end of the ice to prevent an icing call or the recognition of a “super-sub” entering the game.

Such was the case on sunday night when it was eminent that Khiry Shelton would step on the pitch for the home side. There was no shortage of savvy fútbol fanatics in the Bronx that evening. NYCFC fans chanted his name and were well aware of the type of energy and pace he brought to the Orlando City match, hopeful that he would produce more of the same against the Revs.

Sure enough, Shelton’s first touch on the ball was enough to break through New England’s back-line and draw a foul, which ultimately resulted in defender Jose Gonçalves being sent off. The Revs reduction to ten men completely opened up the pitch for NYCFC, which resulted in numerous chances, and eventually a Patrick Mullins goal which sealed the club’s first-ever three points.

It is obviously very early in the season and now that the novelty and adrenaline has worn off, it will be interesting to see how the Light Blues respond in the upcoming matches. One thing is clear however, NYCFC is a force to be reckoned with not only in the standings, but with the surrounding New York franchises as well.