When it comes to negative runs, or unlucky attempts to do something, we always say that “The third time’s the charm.” It can certainly be used for NYCFC’s current situation but in a slightly different context. The result midweek was a low hit for both the team and the fans, making the match against New England a key game before hitting the road again. Fortunately, the support was there, opinions were shared, and the team was eager to turn the page at home.
The fight continues
Prior to Saturday’s match, the team arrived with seven defeats. Something that raised some alarms across the fanbase, especially if two took place at home.
However, New England arrived under similar circumstances, with the slight difference that they were in better standing in the conference. In terms of the starting XI, the squad remained almost unchanged. Turnbull made consecutive starts and both Talles Magno and Ilenic made a return from the injury list.
Both good news, given the recent game schedule. The one change that caught everyone by surprise was Tayvon Gray’s suspension, but I have to say that the team did well in defense despite the switch. Altidore was neutralized successfully, and New England was unable to trouble NYCFC as much as we thought.
The squad was filled with energy and determination from the start. The front three took the initiative and created consecutive chances to open the score.
Gabriel Pereira continued to hunt for his goal against the visitors, but Goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic was a true wall at goal. He saved a 1 on 1 play against Santiago Rodriguez, two attempts from Gabriel Pereira, and got some help from the goalpost against Richie Ledezma. In total, the team took a total of 17 shots against New England.
A number that should not be overlooked since long-distance shots are practically non-existent in NYCFC’s system.
That statistic alone should be enough for the fanbase to see that the team is as frustrated as they are with the ongoing results. The team usually tends to either cross the ball or attempt a wall pass system to break the opponent’s defensive line.
The match, however, couldn’t end without controversy. In a completely legal ball dispute, defender Braian Cufre accidentally stepped on a rival’s foot after clearing out the play.
For some odd reason, the referee deemed it a red card offense. While the play did go under VAR review, the decision stood, and Cufre will miss out on the upcoming game against Real Salt Lake. Not the best scenario, given the team’s form away from home, but the mood inside the locker room suggests otherwise. “It’s important for the fans to keep supporting, we want to reverse the situation,” said Cufre during the post-match.
The manager also emphasized how much he wants things to improve for the team. “I love the game, I love the team, I watched the FA cup Final and I will rewatch the tape of today’s game after I leave today”.
From “Cushing out” to “Cushing in, ” the team situation is tense. The Boys in Blue hit the road for the upcoming week. If the team is unable to win again, the pressure will start building.
Unfortunately, results matter, and despite both players and staff working to turn things around, a new defeat could signal the start of a difficult period for the manager.
I hope it doesn’t come down to that because I see the commitment in that locker room. Hopefully, Real Salt Lake becomes the first match where the team ends the negative run on the road. But whatever happens, I would urge the fanbase to have patience, the wins and the goals are coming. I understand it’s difficult, but the support must continue through the good and bad. That’s what a true fan does, after all.