New York City FC returned to winning ways in a midweek matchup against CF Montreal.
It was only the team’s second win in 18 games as the pressure mounts on head coach Nick Cushing, but there were plenty of promising signs in this 2-0 victory.
One of them was the new left-sided defender Birk Risa, who looks set to replace Maxime Chanot who left the club earlier in the week for French Ligue 2 side AC Ajaccio.
There has been some chatter around the reasons for Chanot’s exit, covered here on Hudson River Blue.
After the game against Montreal, Risa spoke about the win, the fans, and the outgoing captain.
“It’s amazing we heard them the whole game and the way they were supporting us,” Risa said of the support at Yankee Stadium.
“It is character for them to come and support us with the results lately. The way they push us every game is very good, and we need them for our last games, so all props to them being there and supporting us.
“For myself, this was a great experience to play for them and I am hoping there will be many many more to come.”
Risa assisted the second goal for Monsef Bakrar, demonstrating one of his major strengths, as previously pointed out by The Outfield’s Kevin Nelson, evident since he joined the club in July. The 25-year-old’s long passing from the back is potentially a useful weapon for New York City for the rest of the season and beyond.
Birk Risa a very good passer from the back. Gets the assist for Bakrar’s goal. https://t.co/zyMkopOJZa
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) August 31, 2023
NYCFC will miss Chanot’s leadership, and the circumstances around his departure are far from ideal, but Risa looks like he could go on to be one of the better defenders the club has had.
“First of all, I want to thank Maxime because I was here for two, three weeks with him, and he took very good care of me,” Risa said of the man he will, perhaps inadvertently, replace.
“He talked to me about what this club means to him, the city, and to show how you can connect with the city and the club.
“He took very good care of me, and it is soccer, he chose to catch another opportunity. He has been here for seven, eight years, and he is a big legend.
“I got some big boots to go [fill].”