NYCFC overcomes sloppy start, turf issues in victory

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

Following an emotional win Sunday afternoon, New York City FC were in the ideal conditions for a letdown. They faced the New England Revolution on the road, midweek and on newly-laid turf.

The adverse conditions had an immediate effect.

“We started a bit slow,” Frank Lampard said. “Coming off the back of a good win on Sunday, traveling here for a game on the turf we started a bit sloppy. Once we came through that, we played some good stuff moving the ball well and creating chances.”

Lampard said both sides created chances but that NYCFC created the better chances and deserved their 1–0 victory. He scored the only goal in last night’s match in the 58th minute, redirecting Thomas McNamara’s cross passed Bobby Shuttleworth. McNamara said he knew about Lampard and David Villa’s reputations in front of goal and just wanted to play the ball near them.

This was the first match played on newly laid turf at Gillette Stadium. A natural-grass surface was put down for the Copa America Centenario as the Revolution spent a month away from home. The turf played slow and players struggled to find their footing in the early stages. A slip at the back led to an NYCFC turnover and a pass into the box for Kelyn Rowe who was brought down by Jefferson Mena yielded no penalty call.

“I guess it’s something that once it gets a little more worn in it will be a little bit better,” McNamara said. “I just thought that it was heavy. There were a lot of rubber beads in it and it was moving a little bit. It is what it is. They were playing on the field, too. It is just part of the league. I think that when more matches are played on it, it will get a little more worn down and pick up and be a little bit better.”

Despite the shaky start, NYCFC would harness control of the match. They had more of the ball, completed more passes and took more shots than the Revolution. The Pigeons now have the first four-game winning streak in franchise history and the longest shutout streak in its history at 272 minutes.

Head coach Patrick Vieira said the streaks give the team confidence to continue improving.

“It’s a consistency from what we try to do from the beginning of the season,” Vieira said. “We have the clear high line, the clear philosophy…and we want to impose ourselves and get into where the players really understand and they really enjoy to play that way. We have to keep working, because we still have a lot of part of the game we need to improve, but I think the way we played tonight can make the fans and the players really happy.”