New York City FC gave up a late goal to end up with a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. This is the second time in six days Philadelphia got a big goal late, as they beat NYC FC 2-1 on an extra-time goal last Saturday in the first part of the home-and-home.
NYC FC now has 1 win, 3 draws, and 2 losses this season, and a quick turnaround after this one as they are back at Yankee Stadium Sunday night to face the Portland Timbers.
NYC FC was without Head Coach Jason Kreis because of illness and Midfielder Mix Diskerud because he was called up by the US National Team for their win Wednesday night against Mexico.
New York City controlled the play for most of the first half, but it did not result in many scoring chances. They had possession for 61.5 percent of the first half, which resulted in 7 shots, but not one on target. They ran plays with far too many passes, which only resulted in the Philadelphia defense clamping down. David Villa twice was trapped by two Philadelphia defenders on the far side of the crease. Villa did not come out for the second half, as he was replaced by Kwadwo Poku, who is an instant-energy guy off the bench and has become a fan favorite already because of that. Poku said of this, “I don’t know, it’s always happening that way, the fans really see what is going on, sometimes more than the players on the field, so I really appreciate them for the support and everything, but I’m just trying to do anything to help the team in any possible way.”
NYC FC played a lot more up-tempo to start the second half, and played more aggressive. They had three corner kicks in the opening ten minutes and they opened it up more.
A Khiry Shelton pass from the top of the crease found Mehdi Balloudy coming down the right side, and he buried it in the back of the net in the 57th minute to make it 1-0. e took his jersey off to celebrate and was given a yellow card for “excessive celebration,” which is standard worldwide.
As is common in soccer, NYC FC could not keep up the pressure once they got a goal, and Philadelphia started to get some chances. In the 86th minute, on a play that started with a corner kick, C.J. Sepong got a pass at the top of the crease and got it over NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders to tie the game at 1.
NYC FC defender Chris Wingert said of the play, “So I think it started on a corner on something, and then a ball came out and somebody went to pressure it and I actually left the middle, which now I’m pissed that I did, I’ve gotta look at it again, but Sheanon Williams (of Philadelphia) was wide open kind of on the side of the box, so I felt like we needed get everybody up, so we went to get up and then I released and went outside so that they couldn’t just play him and dribble or get an easy ball in with no pressure on it, but still they just dunked it and, as soon as our guys went up, I saw that, like if this just drops, C.J. Sapong had like peeled off and he’s just standing there, so I went to run back in, and it was just too late. I don’t know at that time who was marking who and where everybody was. I think two of our guys went up, which was a problem, and it ended up dropping to one of their guys.”
NYC FC goaltender Josh Saunders said of the late goal, “Just kind of a hopeful ball in the box for them. Give them credit coming, second ball situation, they were hungry, they wanted to get to it, we didn’t necessarily make the play to clear the ball out of the box, for me, I was hoping the guy would kick it right at me. Feels like a loss, but we got a point out of it if you want to take any positives, kind of keeps things status quo between us and Philly on the Eastern Conference.”
Wingert said of how frustrating it was to give up another late goal, “We need to do a better job of making sure they don’t score on a nothing play like that. I’m not breaking us down or anything, it’s just dumping a ball in, that’s on us. We’ve gotta do a better job. We’ll go back and look at it, and try to improve on that, but the soccer was great, it’s just at the same time, it’s so frustrating because of that. It’s a game that we should not be giving up any goals and that we should be scoring a few and putting that game away early. It is what it is, it’s early in the season, of course we need to improve, but very, very frustrating to end the last three games like that.” Wingert was referring to the prior game to the two with Philadelphia, a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on March 28th at Yankee Stadium.
Wingert said of the Philadelphia attack, “I wasn’t worried about their style of attack; I was worried about our style of attack and we were good tonight – we just weren’t good enough. We played the ball well, we went in their half, we kept possession in their half, we created tons of chances. They had some chances too, but I mean, we were in the end I felt like, sometimes you have different perspective being on the field and I’ll watch a game again and maybe I’ll come out with a different opinion. You guys watched it, maybe you feel different, but I felt like we were creating tons of chances and we were doing everything right, just wanted to continue to do that, and unfortunately, you know, can’t give up a soft goal at the end like that.”
Wingert said of playing without Head Coach Jason Kreis on the sidelines, “Of course, we want Jason over there and he’s a leader for us and he’s an incredible coach, but once you’re in the game, you’re not thinking about who the coach is on the sidelines, you’re playing. I don’t think I approached the game any differently, but really, we’re just concerned about his health, hope he’s okay.”
Poku said of the game, “We should have finished this game earlier, but you know, we missed chances, stuff happens, just focus on the next game.”