Mistakes and Misses Catch Up to NYCFC

Jul 5, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps forward Fredy Montero (12) celebrates his goal against New York City FC goalkeeper Eirik Johansen (25) during the first half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

By CHRISTIAN ARAOS

NYCFC logoNew York City FC’s issues returned.

A self-inflicted wound, a series of misses and a defeat that could have easily gone the other way. A late goal from Yordy Reyna gave Vancouver Whitecaps their first win against NYCFC Wednesday night in BC Place, snapping City’s winning streak at four.

The wound came in the third minute when Brek Shea forced a turnover by Maxime Chanot and Fredy Montero beat Alex Ring to the loose ball before easily slotting a finish passed Eirik Johansen. For their part, the Pigeons responded well to the early goal, controlled possession and had the bulk of the chances for the rest of the half. Chanot equalized on 34 minutes when David Ousted flubbed an R.J. Allen shot into his path in front of the goal. Thomas McNamara won a penalty that David Villa converted two minutes before halftime.

“That’s why I think we are disappointed because we are leading at the half 2-1, and unfortunately you cannot lose the game like that,” Chanot said. “2-1 away with 45 minutes left, we should be more clever and play differently. As players, we made a big, big fault. We have to think about this and try not to do the same mistakes in the next games.”

Things went south for NYCFC (10-6-3, 33 points) eight minutes into the second half when Yangel Herrera was forced to leave the game with an apparent hamstring injury. Curiously, Coach Patrick Vieira opted to insert Frederic Brillant and move Chanot into defensive midfield. Seconds later, Jordan Harvey made a backpost run and volleyed a Christian Bolaños cross into the roof of the net to tie the game.

“When I look at the game, I think both teams had their own half,” Vieira said. “I think even if we conceded the first goal in the first half, we managed to get back and winning 2-1. I think in the first half we created a lot of chances, and we only score two goals. Then we came back in the second half, they were more aggressive, put us under a lot of pressure. And the chances or the situations that they created, they scored the goals. I think both teams had their own half, and the difference was that they took their chances and we didn’t in the first half.”

With Andrea Pirlo and Ring now serving as the other legs in the midfield, City’s midfield lost its fluidity. Vieira quickly corrected himself by sending on Mikey Lopez and moving Brillant to right back so Chanot would return to his original spot on the field making City lopsided to the left. It allowed Jack Harrison to be in dangerous spots on the weak side and he had two occasions where he could have scored his third consecutive game-winning goal but he shot it straight to Ousted both times.

Maxi Moralez replaced Pirlo with 15 minutes remaining and was able to link up the midfield and attack effectively but also showed signs that he was not yet fully match fit. Moralez read the game well but lacked the sharpness needed to turn the game New York City’s way. With 13 days until City’s next game, Moralez should be able to gain that sharpness.

It would be Reyna who decided the game for Vancouver (7-7-3, 24). The former Red Bull Salzburg and Red Bull Leipzig attacker made his second appearance of the year after recovering from foot surgery earlier this year and made an impact from the moment he stepped on the field in the 65th minute. His dribbling fooled City’s defenders more than once, his passes sprung Whitecaps breaks. He made a well-timed run across the box to meet and head Jake Nerwinski’s cross past Johansen to win the game in the 88th minute for the Whitecaps.

“You can always be better,” Ring said. “You have to have that goal, but all-in-all I think that we can be quite happy with the way we are playing in the season until now, and I think we are getting better and better. Today was an off day from us in the second half, but that happens. We had four wins before that. You win, you lose, but the most important thing is how you come back after a loss, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on when we come back.”

City outshot the Whitecaps, 20-10, but Vancouver managed to have more shots on target. They also completed more total number of crosses but Vancouver had a better completion percentage. The loss keeps New York City in third in the Eastern Conference five points behind both the Chicago Fire and Toronto. They will play Toronto at Yankee Stadium on July 19.