Nick Cushing had yet to experience his first victory for nearly a month since taking over as NYCFC interim manager on June 13.
On Saturday, Valentin Castellanos and company helped Cushing get on the board, and the team back on track.
Castellanos led the way with two goals, and Gabriel Pereira and Talles Magno added one goal apiece as NYCFC earned a 4-2 home victory over the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium.
Cushing, who took over as interim manager after former manager Ronny Deila resigned on June 13 to become coach of Belgium’s Standard Liege, was especially pleased with his first win at the helm following late equalizers from the opposition in the previous two matches led to a pair of disappointing draws.
“For us it’s about getting back to winning here at home,” Cushing said. “We have a really good record here and finishing with a draw in the previous two games even though we played well, we had to get back to winning ways and we’re really happy with the performance today.”
“I think it’s what we needed to get going again,” defender Tayvon Gray said.
New England cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 77th minute, as Gustavo Bou converted his second goal of the day on a feed from DeJuan Jones in the middle of the box. But Castellanos responded with his second goal – and league-leading 12th of the season – five minutes later after rebounding a Dorde Petrovic save.
NYCFC (9-4-5) began the day in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points and increased its total to 32 with the victory.
Taken down from behind by New England’s Andrew Farrell in the 41st minute inside the box, Castellanos, who missed a penalty kick 10 minutes early, proceeded to fire this one into the bottom right corner of net, giving NYCFC a 2-1 lead entering halftime. Farrell was immediately issued a red card for the foul and disqualified.
NYCFC extended its advantage to 3-1 in the 50th minute as Pereira rebounded a miss in the open field, quickly crossed over from left to right to evade both Petrovic and a defender and easily finished for a goal.
Cushing commended the 20-year-old Pereira for his game-changing impact off the bench.
“I think it’s a testament to the roster we’ve built here,” Cushing said. “You see his talent when he comes on…We have a lot of exciting young players that we have to continue to push hard and improve.”
NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson made four saves.
Magno opened the scoring early on, converting a penalty kick after drawing a foul just inside the box drew in the ninth minute on a slide tackle attempt. New England (6-6-7) tied the score in the 18th minute when Sebastian Lletget turned and found Bou, who promptly finished from the right side of the box.
Defender Alexander Callens said NYCFC forcing three penalty kicks on the day was a new experience for him.
“Their defense wasn’t as sharp as we expected today,” Callens said. “So luckily we were able to put two out of three penalty kicks in. I haven’t been part of a game like that, so it was interesting for me.”
NYCFC now prepares to visit FC Dallas on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be really tough when we head out there,” Cushing said. “We’ve played well on the road and we’ll look to continue that.”