by CHRISTIAN ARAOS
Their shooting was as cold as the winds the swept across Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon and New York City FC paid for some poor finishing by dropping two points. Dominic Oduro’s late goal would snatch a 1–1 draw for the Montreal Impact.
Rodney Wallace scored for the second consecutive week to give NYCFC the lead moments before halftime, but City should have entered the break up by more. Jack Harrison set up the goal but should have scored in the third minute missing a clear chance from the edge of the six-yard box. Alex Ring and David Villa also had a clear chances go wide in the first half.
“We’re really frustrated because I think we should have won this game and taken the three points because of the way we played and the number of chances we created,” Coach Patrick Vieira said. “But that is the game of football. If you don’t take your chances then you leave the door open for the opposition.”
It was another game where City had the majority of the possession and was able to complete more than 80 percent of its passes. Though this has been the case in all of their matches this season as they have conceded only two goals. But NYCFC has one win to show for it. Maxime Chanot said it would be too early to jump to a conclusion or be concerned with the missing results.
“I think we have to be honest and be focused about the way we defend,” Chanot said. “We did well and we have to keep going. We just need to have better chances up front. We create chances but we’re just missing a bit of luck. I’m confident. We played well as a team and I’m sure it’s going to turn on our side in the next few games.”
A steady, swirling wind tilted the field to the right as both teams struggled to generate chances when they attacked toward left field. Both teams scored when they had the wind at their backs. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson said the wind was a factor though not as much as it was last week against D.C. United. The wind, rain and snow may have had a greater toll on the box office as the announced crowd of 18,515 was the lowest in franchise history and the first time attendance was below 20,000.
Oduro capitalized on City’s profligacy with a well-taken goal in the 68th minute. Ignacio Piatti and Patrice Bernier were able to win possession from Ring in midfield. With no one to immediately close down on Bernier, he was able to play a diagonal into the wind that Alex Callens misjudged allowing Oduro to chest down and turn to goal. Johnson came out but Oduro kept his cool and placed the finish over him and into the goal.
“The two goals that we’ve conceded were goals that we gave away,” Vieira said. “We didn’t defend well and that is what I’m frustrated about. They scored a really good goal today but when you look at the way we defended, it wasn’t good enough. We gave them the chance to score the goal, they didn’t create them by themselves.”
Vieira said it was déjà vu watching Oduro score the goal that would take two points away from his team once again. Oduro scored a 90th-minute goal in a match between the two teams last April that rescued a point for Montreal. Harrison’s performance at right wing also inspired feelings of déjà vu as his direct running at Ambroise Oyongo kept the left back on his heels. It was Harrison’s stepover that created the space for him to cut back to Ring whose shot would eventually lead to Wallace’s goal. Afterward, Harrison was more disappointed with his own miss.
“I think the whole team did a good job but we just didn’t finish our chances, including myself,” Harrison said.
Unlike a handful of teams in the league, NYCFC will not play during the coming international break. Six players will leave the club for international duty but are expected to return in time for the team’s next match at home against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 1.