New York City FC 1 – Portland Timbers 2 | The losing streak continues at home

Credit: Melinda Morales

New York City FC returned home this weekend after two games on the road. The team’s home opener showcased a replay of the 2021 MLS Cup final against the Portland Timbers. Having lost the previous two games, it was time to turn things around at home. It was the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways against a rival with whom the team has fond memories. Ironically, even the weather set up a nearly identical scenario to that championship final, all that was left to do was win. Not too difficult, right? 

New York City FC’s Last Minute Slip

The Boys in Blue came out with the best lineup possible. This was the first opportunity to showcase the team’s depth as well. Andres Jasson started the match instead of James Sands, who missed the game due to a red card suspension. The team got up and running after covering the missing piece in midfield. It only took 2 minutes for New York to create the first chance of the game, but Portland’s GK was quick to react and deny Bakrar’s attempt.

Julian Fernandez with the ball control | Credit : Melinda Morales
Julian Fernandez with the ball control | Credit: Melinda Morales

The team managed to keep the pressure going, and by the 10th minute, Santiago Rodriguez had given New York City the lead. The midfielder scored his first goal of the season and got the team to an ideal start. Mounsef Bakrar would go on and miss two one-on-one opportunities shortly after. But the way the team was playing, everyone implied that we were going to score again at some point.

If anything, one key component of the team’s electric start was the right wing. The team created the majority of chances on that side of the field. If you combine that with the freedom that Santiago Rodriguez had in midfield, most of us felt a win was secured once the final whistle blew. However, as recent records show, the team struggles to shut games down. What’s worse, you ask? Every missed opportunity this team misses tends to come back and haunt them, and this game, unfortunately, was no exception.

At the start of the second half, many expected the team to resume the attacking game style. Unfortunately, the team took two steps back and gave the ball to the visitors. In what could be labeled as a game of two halves, Portland managed to settle themselves on the field. They managed to push New York City back into their half.

New York City FC loses their first home opening match | Credit : Melinda Morales
New York City FC loses their first home opening match | Credit : Melinda Morales

Bakrar did have opportunities despite Portland’s constant pressure, but he was unable to capitalize on those chances. It was strange to see that Portland took control of the game despite not creating many chances through the second half. If there was danger, Freeze was able to intervene and shut down any attempts. But as luck would have it, those missed opportunities came back to haunt the team in the final 10 minutes. Antony and Evander came back to win it for Portland in the 85-minute and stoppage time, respectively. However, that last-minute goal was a very low hit for New York City. 

The defeat not only dragged the losing record to 3 games. It also marks the first time New York City FC lost its home-opening match in their history. The reaction at the post-match press conference was filled with accountability and disappointment. The manager emphasized his frustration with the results but assured that the team was still behind him. He urged the fans to continue supporting and that the team should be able to work through this if they want to become a championship-winning team.

The team returns next Saturday to face Toronto FC for back-to-back home games.

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