Head coach Ronny Deila of New York City FC celebrates...

Head coach Ronny Deila of New York City FC celebrates after defeating Philadelphia Union during the MLS Eastern Conference Final at Subaru Park on December 05, 2021 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Credit: Getty Images/Tim Nwachukwu

It’s hard to imagine a "DEILA OUT" banner making more appearances at New York City FC matches soon.

Just a few weeks ago, one such sign was seen in the Yankee Stadium bleachers early in a 6-0 win over D.C. United, requesting the dismissal of NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila amid a down spell in his second season in charge.

Deila very much remained in, and his substitution decisions in his side’s MLS Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday kept his team in the postseason, now just one win away from its first championship.

Earlier in the playoffs, the coach expressed his belief that substitutions only are necessary when something is not going as planned. By the 58th minute, he’d seen enough go wrong to make the call.

"I felt we were like half a yard always too late on things," Deila said.

Into the game came Talles Magno, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Gudi Thórarrinsson, replacing Héber, Jesús Medina and Malte Amundsen. Although NYCFC went behind 1-0 on an own goal soon after, all three made key impacts in the final result.

"The subs looked like they were a million dollars, all three of them," Deila said. "I'm so happy for the subs coming on to make a big difference, we're going to be more rested now with six days to be ready for the final."

 

Tajouri-Shradi brought a massive boost of energy on the wing in the closing 30 minutes, including a shot on a loose ball that led to Maxi Moralez’s equalizing goal. Thórarrinsson was strong on the left upon entering, running onto the ball in the box in he 88th minute for a cross in front that found Magno directly in front of goal for the game-winner.

"Second half, our subs that came on made a huge impact," said NYCFC captain and goalkeeper Sean Johnson. "They’ve been doing that the entire playoff run. In New England, Gudi with the assist there, Gudi with the assist here. Talles, Isi coming on, difference-makers, man. Everybody is committed to the cause and we’ve been doing that all year. Guys have stepped up in different points and we needed that, it’s kind of been our backbone."

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