BRONX, NY– Scoring and compiling goals in the MLS are essential and at the early juncture of their season, NYCFC has found that to be a struggle even with back-to-back consecutive home wins at Yankee Stadium. Saturday in the Bronx, Talles Magno opened the scoring for NYCFC in the 17th minute.
Again, though, compiling more of those goals were difficult to find. Is this a concern, as NYCFC earned three points with their 3-2 win over D.C. United? Concerns for sure in the important Eastern Conference standings because Philadelphia, the defending eastern conference champs, score often.
In the end, NYCFC is a team of veterans and many newcomers. They continue to adjust to new formations and coach Nick Cushing is confident his team will tack on more goals as they get an early advantage in the first half.
Trailing 2-0 at the half, D.C. cut their deficit in the opening minute. In the 88th minute the deciding goal put the game away, Santiago Rodriguez led a pass to Thiago Andrade. They said it was a good win at home. but the components to their game are still coming together.
The coach says working on consistency and adding to their lead is an emphasis. And the keeper, Luis Barraza, is adjusting to no longer being the backup to Sean Johnson, who departed with a free agency deal to Toronto. Basically, he admits to working on the adjustments as the progress continues with a mix of veterans and newcomers.
“I think that the guys that came in made a difference,”Barraza said about Andrade and his goal. “We are upset with their second goal (D.C.) but we will grow from that. Ultimately, we got the win and that is what matters.”
And this is a work in progress for Barraza. He allowed a goal late in the second half off the post that went to the back of the net, even for Johnson, the perennial all-star that would have been difficult to handle. But it is more than a goal that made things tight, because NYCFC is looking to close out games after taking the early advantage.
“I think the first half I was really pleased with,” Cushing said. “As the season goes on we have to take on those opportunities. We have to go three, four, goals up. Because there were two or three really good moments outside of the goals that we scored, The team has to have a real motivation to play a 90-minute performance with the ball.”
He said the D.C. goal after the half was a shock, then again this fast paced league will see teams quickly come out fast after the break. Regardless, it’s the consistency of NYCFC scoring early and tacking on their lead, a work in progress that will now continue on the road Saturday at Houston
“We have a lot of young guys on our team,” Cushing said. “So, I know that it’s going to take us time, and then the game’s messy, and their style contradicts to our style with a lot of balls in the air. In the end, I was pleased. Maybe not that we got the ball down and controlled the game with our style, but that we showed a different style of ourselves in the ability to fight and pick up second balls and reduce them.”
There is no denying the fact, NYCFC won those second chances. Also, they are aware giving second chances to a team will limit their ability to build on that momentum of a lead and eventually come away with a point or more in the standings.
Still, though, early enough to make the adjustments but doing it away from their friendly confines at Yankee Stadium and their upcoming two home matches across the bridge at Citi Field. The team returns to Yankee Stadium Saturday April 8 versus Atlanta United FC.
“So, yeah, I’m pleased, but we have to be better with the ball,” Cushing said. “I’ve just said to the team that at home, I love the responsibility and expectation to win in front of our fans,because the atmosphere is so good. I can’t praise our fans enough for helping us see the match over the line. They are the 12th player. We have to go on the road and win football games. If you want to be in those four positions (Eastern Conference) and science we want to get higher than 3rd place, you have to get points on the road.”
NYCFC has the ability to get points away from home, a matter of improvement and building off that first half. Basically, still a work in progress and having the right players in the pitch, adjustments also for Rodriguez a midfielder. He recently rejoined the team with a four-year deal on loan and can make a difference.
“We are a young team that is developing and that is only going to come with time,” Barraza said. Thiago Martins, Maxime Chanot, James Sands, Keaton Parks, Alfredo Morales, a part of that contingent. Yes, it’s a work in progress.
“But I think we show that we can defend and we can fight and give everything for each other,” Morales said. “We deserve the win, and this is a very good way to represent ourselves as a team, and we are on our way to become the top team.”
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Rich Mancuso Co-Editor and Senior Writer Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and co-host Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube
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