Alexander Callens Goal Sees NYCFC Win, Through to CCL Quarter Finals

Alexander Callens Goal
USA's New York City FC's Alexander Callens celebrates his goal against Costa Rica's San Carlos during their CONCACAF Champions League match at Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium in Alajuela, Costa Rica on February 20, 2020. (Photo by Ezequiel BECERRA / AFP) (Photo by EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP via Getty Images)

HARRISON, NJ. – New York City FC hosted A.D. San Carlos in the second leg of their 2020 Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 on Wednesday night. Thanks to an Heber hattrick, the Cityzens had a 5-3 aggregate lead from the first leg.

Alexander Callens Goal Seens NYCFC to CCL Quarter Finals

NYCFC controlled this game throughout. The two sides traded corners and shooting chances in the early going. Still, the home side controlled the ball throughout and allowed just one shot from inside their 18 yard box the entire match. Most of the chances for San Carlos were wishful shots that goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved comfortably.

The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute when Callens scored on a corner taken by Alexandru Mitrita. At halftime, the score was 1-0, with NYCFC winning on aggregate 6-3.

City slowed things down a bit and took their foot off the gas peddle in the second half. San Carlos had a few looks on the counter attack but were still out-chanced and out-possessed.

NYCFC nearly scored a second in the 77th minute on a counter attack. There was a scramble in front of goal involving several players but San Carlos goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton was able to make the save.

The match ended 1-0 sending NYCFC through to the quarterfinals on a 6-3 aggregate score.

Three Takeaways:

Defense gets it done: NYCFC made some mistakes at the back in the first leg throughout the game. As they built up an aggregate lead, they also gave up chances and goals. The backline did well to get a clean sheet with the Callens goal getting the win to cap it off.

Playing the aggregate score: Once they got their goal, New York City seemed to relax in the match. Ronny Deila must have been relieved to have a two goal lead going into the night with five away goals to boot. They were clearly the better side in every phase of the game. It certainly helps when you can rest your legs by sitting back and counter attacking up three goals on aggregate.

Home away from home no problem: Fans and pundits in America Soccer laughed when it was announced that this game would ironically be played at Red Bull Arena, home of their Hudson River Derby rival New York Red Bulls. Attendance was sparse, as expected given this game was a 6 p.m. EST kick off on a Wednesday night. Regardless, the atmosphere didn’t appear to affect NYCFC at all.

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