NYCFC Remain Unbeaten but not Victorious Against DC
New York City Football Club played their home opener of 2019 in the raw weather of the Bronx Sunday against DC United. No goals were scored and the contest seemed to be a showcase for two of the USA’s best keepers.
Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid were both Man of the Match performers for their respective teams. Each keeper making some tremendous saves to keep their team level. The weather was cold and so were the scoring leaders for both teams. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta were largely shut out of action in Sunday’s match. Alexandru Mitrita looked again like the most dangerous man on the pitch for NYCFC. Alexander Ring almost scored his second goal late in the second half off a great header but it was miraculously saved by Hamid.
New York looked sharper than they did last week in Orlando. Dome Torrent started Jesus Medina and Taty Castellanos instead of Jonathan Lewis and Ebenezer Ofori and played a more possession based game. New York enjoyed almost 66 percent of possession in the game and looked the more dominant team over all. their performance was not perfect by any means however and DC almost capitalized several times.
Torrent was clear about the style the team wanted to play in the match and going forward from Sunday. “Soccer is not about keeping the ball and having more possession than the opponent. We need to play much better. I prefer to play quickly, one to two touches, but I prefer to keep the ball and not play the long ball like the last game in Orlando. If you keep with ball, with the idea to attack it’s good, you can’t pass the ball to pass the ball. Especially against a team like this, DC defends really well, they are one of the best teams when they defend and you have to play quickly.”
Team captain, Alex Ring was quick to praise Johnson for his performance in the goal and also to echo Torrent’s comments. “It’s his job. He’s fantastic. I’ve been playing with him now my third year. I think you can always rely on him. He’s made big stops for us before. But like I’ve said, it’s his job. I think he woke us up a little…our first 15 minutes was too soft. We weren’t in the game. But I think after that, there’s no question of who the better team was for 75 minutes of that game. It was pretty obvious. We just have to, you know, focus on creating more opportunities and then scoring.”
That last bit seems to be the Achilles heel for the club this season as questions still remain about who will step up an assume the scoring mantel that David Villa held for his many years at the club. The likely bet is Mitrita but result must start to follow promise. Last week in Orlando the team looked out of sorts but managed to score two goals. This week the team looked more cohesive but could not find the back of the net. Draws are not losses but with the new playoff format in MLS they certainly are not victories either. DC is arguably a better team than Orlando and the result on Sunday was promising. If the team can keep making progress and sign a true striker before the window closes then it could be a good season for the club. If the team continues to just tally draws then it could be a long year indeed.