One kept NYCFC out of the net, while the other got the Loons on the scoreboard for what would prove to be a game-winning goal, as both goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair and midfielder Jan Gregus played a big role in Sunday night’s 2-0 road win at Citi Field. Their contributions would also get both players some well-deserved recognition from their performances, as St. Clair and Gregus each have earned a spot on the MLS Team of the Matchday for week 27 of the MLS regular season.
The Loons were able to grind out a gritty 2-0 win, and St. Clair certainly had a hand in keeping the home team’s attack at bay. As he has done so often lately, DSC was clutch when the Loons needed it most, as he would deny multiple set piece attempts off NYCFC corner kicks. And, in the 83rd minute, with the game still in the balance, Dayne was the stopgap the Loons needed when an NYCFC cross from the right side to the center of the box would go wide and deflect off Michael Boxell towards the goal. It was St. Clair’s heads-up awareness and quick reflexes that kept the ball from very nearly crossing the line and evening the score.
Gregus was subbed on after Bongokuhle Hlongwane took a hard knock and was taken out of the game in the 39th minute of the first half. While losing the Loons leading goal scorer could have proved costly for the end result, Gregus made the moment his own. More specifically, in the 53rd minute of the second half, with the Loons pressing just outside of the NYCFC box, Gregus would strike an absolute laser from about 25 yards out and into the top right corner of the NYCFC net.
It was a promising sign to see the Loons top man in the net step up in the restart to regular season play, but it was a definite bonus to the club for the recently-reacquired Gregus to step in and shine when his number was called. And, these two great performances were crucial to helping the Loons earn three more points in their late-season quest to rise up the Western Conference standings.
Congrats, Dayne and Jan!
See the full MLS Team of the Matchday for Week 27 below:
F: Giorgos Giakoumakis (ATL), Nicholas Gioacchini (STL)
M: Facundo Torres (ORL), Mathieu Choinière (MTL), Aidan Morris (CLB), Eduard Löwen (STL), Federico Bernardeschi (TOR)
D: John Tolkin (RBNY), Rodrigues (SJ), Franco Escobar (HOU)
GK: Daniel (SJ)
Coach: Gonzalo Pineda (ATL)
Bench: Dayne St. Clair (MIN), Andrés Reyes (RBNY), Jan Gregus (MIN), Coco Carrasquilla (HOU), Wilder Cartagena (ORL), Tristan Muyumba (ATL), Corey Baird (HOU), Cucho Hernández (CLB), Samuel Adeniran (STL)