Shaky Debut for NYCFC’s Lewis

imgres

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

Jonathan Lewis played the final 11 minutes of New York City FC’s 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon, but the excited rookie was the first to say that he wasn’t particularly happy with his debut.

“Some bad, some good,” Lewis, a forward/midfielder, said. “I was putting pressure on them when they had the ball but when I was on the ball, the first few touches I had were sloppy then I drew a foul and started to feel it a little bit and then the whistle blew. It was hot and cold but definitely coming into a hectic game like that was hard at the same time. As the season goes on, you’ll see more and I’ll do better. It was fun but unfortunately, we didn’t win and the most important was winning.”

Lewis won a foul and conceded a foul, made two successful passes and two unsuccessful passes. In truth, the 11 minutes or so that he played weren’t enough for him to alter the result. Since returning to NYCFC from the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Lewis has made the match-day roster in each of the last two games. He said Coach Patrick Vieira has been telling him to play with confidence.

“He believes in me and I have some qualities that I believe can help the team,” Lewis said. “I have pace and I can beat players 1 v. 1 so he told me to express myself and don’t be afraid. He’s been telling me this in practice and to trust my teammates and my teammates trust me and I trust them and I learn from them.”

The two weeks Lewis has spent with City is the most time he’s been with the club since it traded $250,000 of general allocation money to Chicago for the opportunity to draft him fourth over all at the MLS draft. Lewis said he could not think of a better club to start his MLS career with than NYCFC. He did add that New York was a little cold but he’s getting used to it.

Lewis also confirmed that he holds a British passport (his mother is a citizen). He was born in Florida and played in college for the University of Akron. He’s expected to be in contention for a spot on the United States roster for the FIFA U-20 World Cup this May in South Korea. The U.S. was drawn in a group with Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Senegal. For now, Lewis said he’s focused on NYCFC and cracking the first team.

“At the end of the day, I’m learning,” he said. “I’m still young and I can learn a lot from players at my position like someone Jack [Harrison] who’s young like me or someone like Rodney [Wallace] who’s very experienced and David [Villa], just learning from them coming off the bench and playing the ten minutes, I’m still learning and getting that experience. It’s going to help me grow as a player.”