NYCFC lack in creativity, desire in New England loss

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

Patrick Vieira and the rest of his New York City FC squad had been expecting to run into a more confident New England Revolution. They did – and then were steamrolled, losing 3–1 on a whopping 12 shots on goal.

Head coach Patrick Vieira said his team did not play at all Saturday night.

“I think we lacked a desire to compete against them,” Vieira said. “We lacked aggressiveness on the field and when you don’t have that, it’s difficult to play in any type of football match.”

New England’s defense held NYCFC to one shot on target and their attack forced Josh Saunders to make nine saves. NYCFC’s defense was static without the ball, careless with it. Neither Jason Hernandez or Frederic Brillant picked up Juan Agudelo on the first goal. Jefferson Mena was beaten 1v1 in the buildup to the second goal. Ronald Matarrita’s intercepted pass resulted in the Revolution’s third. R.J. Allen came on at the beginning of the second half and recorded an assist.

“I think we need to learn from this, first and foremost,” Allen said. “We need to go home, we need to review tomorrow first thing, and just bounce back. We have two home games coming up. Two of the most important games of the year. Six points is a must.”

The attack floundered for much of the game. David Villa struggled with the turf and was wildly inaccurate for much of his 63-minute night. Steven Mendoza created some chances with well-played through balls but did not have the ball often enough in the final third. Jack Harrison was able to go forward more often once Allen came on and recorded all his key passes during the second half. Substitutes Tony Taylor and Khiry Shelton combined for a single shot.

“It was a tough game,” Harrison said. “We just didn’t approach the game with the right mentality and the right intensity that we needed and we only realized it in the second half and by that time it was too late. I think we just need to focus on that in the future.”

With their loss, Toronto FC’s win, and the Red Bulls draw, NYCFC fell to second in the Eastern Conference — tied with their cross-river rivals. If they hope to recover, they will have to do it against Supporters’ Shield leading FC Dallas at Yankee Stadium on the weekend.