NYCFC look lost and uncertain in DC United draw
It’s still the early days, but if this is how New York City FC plan to play, it’s going to be a slog.
Questions continue to linger over leadership, playing style and in general, scoring. Against DC United on Sunday, NYCFC looked often troubled and without a clear idea about how they wanted to play in a 0-0 draw at Yankee Stadium.
Through two matches, NYCFC have grabbed just two points as they continue to get acclimated to coach Domenec Torrent’s style of play.
As the club continues to operative without a bona fide striker, Torrent shuffled in Taty Castellanos as his center forward in his 4-2-3-1 formation. The move didn’t work out, as NYCFC managed very few clear scoring opportunities.
And aside from some creativity by way of captain Alexander Ring and Alexandru Mitrita, the uncertainty might very well be NYCFC’s new reality. Gone Sunday was the intricate buildup, the suffocating overload and a backbone to climb on. Without David Villa, NYCFC have lacked a star to ride, which has been evident through the first two games this season.
DC United, which punched defending MLS Cup champions Atlanta United, 2-0, last week, had an idea of how they wanted to play. They were fierce and controlled all match and made NYCFC look as patched up as Yankee Stadium’s poor infield.
NYCFC’s backline struggled to contain DC United’s creativity, centered strongly around Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola. In the 10th minute, the trio’s brilliance almost resulted in a goal when Acosta’s point-blank attempt was stopped by goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Johnson came up big later in the half when he kick-saved Arriola’s driving run on the near post.
Johnson had three key saves, clearly NYCFC’s best player on the afternoon, to help preserve the draw.
NYCFC largely relied on one-versus-one opportunities or were forced to try ambitious long shots. Ring had NYCFC’s best attempt in the first half, when he forced DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid to make an outstanding save on a missile attempt from deep outside the box.
NYCFC outshot DC United 21-7 but only six were on target. Late in the second half, NYCFC finally had some attacking prowess when Torrent subbed on Jonathan Lewis and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi for Castellanos and Jesus Medina. But both substitutes had moments of unluckiness, a common theme in front of the 24,361 fans.
Mitrita was NYCFC’s best attacking player, especially in the latter stages of the match. He forced Hamid to make a few stunning saves past the 85th minute, in the battle between two United States national team shot-blockers.