Maximiliano Moralez had two big assists on first-half goals and added a score of his own in the second half to help NYCFC advance out of the MLS knockout round with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and David Villa scored first-half goals and NYCFC moved forward to play second-seeded Atlanta United in a two-game Eastern Conference semifinal series, with the first game scheduled for Sunday in New York.
In the 10th minute, Moralez sent a pass forward that Villa flicked off his heel to Tajouri-Shradi, who turned it into a 22-yard line drive into the upper left-hand corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
On a counterattack following a turnover, Ronald Matarrita passed to Moralez charging down the left side. Moralez sent the ball to Villa, who slotted in his team-leading 15th goal of the season from just outside the penalty area in the 26th.
Moralez made it 3-0 in the 78th when he ran on to a long ball from Anton Tinnerholm and lobbed it over charging Union goalie Andre Blake from 12 yards.
Philadelphia avoided the shutout when Ilsinho sent a short pass into the middle of the 6-yard box for an easy goal by Cory Burke in the 83th.
NYCFC beat Philadelphia on the final day of the regular season Sunday, also by a 3-1 score.
Source: The Associated Press