New York City Football Club saw its winless streak reach five games, as they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to the Portland Timbers on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
NYC FC Head Coach Jason Kreis was upbeat about his team and said after the game, “I’m actually very encouraged, and the performance in the last two matches shows me that I think we’re moving in the right direction. I think that we have the necessary qualities to be a very good team in this league, but for whatever reason, right now I honestly feel that, and I hate saying it, we’ve been really unlucky. We have to believe over the course of the season we’ll get some luck and this will level out.”
Portland got the winner in the 79th minute on a ball that deflected off three players from the top of the crease and it was credited to Dairon Asprilla.
NYC FC goaltender Josh Saunders said of the goal, “I think it was just the one (deflection), but it’s one of those plays you’re fully committed so, unfortunate. I thought our defense played well, they (Portland) had limited chances, so I mean you take that away, they had limited chances, we created a lot.”
NYC FC Defender Chris Wingert said of the goal, “It kind of ran around our box, I poked it away from someone at the top of the box, somebody shot it, it deflected, went in. I gotta see it again, but that’s all I remember.”
Wingert said of the difference in the late goal against Philadelphia where he pinpointed mistakes and this one being just bad luck, “I gotta watch it again, I think there’s pretty much something you could do every time a team scores. Just like we could the other night, I do think it’s a little unlucky that it hit off the back of a guy’s head and fell right to their guy, but at the same time, we could do a better job marking. We did, even though I thought we had total control of that game the other night, we did lose a little bit of the momentum when we got tired towards the end. We did a better job of that tonight, still creating chances pretty much throughout the whole game, they got a couple…But for the most part, we did a good job tonight,we just didn’t finish and they wound up getting a goal.”
On if that goal is indicative how things are going right now for NYC, Wingert said, “I think so, right. It would be nice if we could get a deflection goal; I’ll take anything right now. It’s just hitting a rough patch of the ball not bouncing our way, the other day ball bounces off a kid’s head right to their guy, today another deflection, a deflection first game against Orlando. But, it’s okay, sometimes that stuff happens, and I do think that you earn your luck and today we were a little bit unfortunate, but we played really well and we can take a lot of positives out of that game and I think there’s a lot of belief in this group, it’s just it hasn’t resulted in the wins that we’d like up until this point, but I’m glad we’re saying that in April and not in September.”
As they did in their prior game on Thursday, a 1-1 tie with Philadelphia, NYC FC controlled the play throughout the game with 8 shots in the first half and 13 in the second half. They did this despite playing without David Villa and Mix Diskerud, who were out with injuries, and Tony Taylor, who left in the 35th minute with a knee injury with ligament damage.
Kreis said of finding out about his team this week, “We had five players that were unavailable today due to injury, I guess that’s a lot at one time. With all that’s happened, it’s been crazy, but again, the players that were called upon tonight to put in a performance and to show what they’re about stepped forward, and I think the morale in the group was a special bond. They were really able to do anything for each other and that’s encouraging as well.”
On if there is commonality between the late goal they gave tonight to others they have given up this season, Kreis said, “No, not for me. I think that the other two late goals we could really kind of pick out, you know, any time a goal happens, there’s gonna be multiple players that have made multiple mistakes. And the other team, instances I really could point to one guy and say ‘you made a critical, critical error that led to that goal,’ and this one for me, no. This one, you have guys sliding trying to do anything they can to stop a shot and then it hit what looked like two deflections. To me, that’s just luck.”
Kreis said on how he tried to temper enthusiasm about his time after their home-opening win on March 15th in relation to the winless streak they’re on now, “It would have been easy at that moment for everybody to say ‘wow, what a team, what a great performance, and this is gonna be a fantastic team,’ and for me, it’s the same as if when we have a bad performance, we come in and is everybody gonna say we’re terrible, and I’m always gonna be somewhere in between. I think it’s really important to recognize that the results aren’t going our way, but the performances are. I have to believe, and I’ve been in this league long enough to know, that if the performances continue like this, that the results are right around the corner.”
Kreis said of momentum going against them and how it can affect the team, “It can, and this is what I just spoke to the team about. What’s most critical to me is that we don’t let these results turn into really negative stuff around the group. It’s the only thing that could really break us right now is if we stop believing in each other and stop being willing and able to work with each other. So, for me, we need to look at the positives and build off the positives rather than to look at the negatives.”
Wingert said of keeping the team focused in this winless streak, “It’ll be fine. Everybody knows that it’s a little bit of a tough run, but at the same time, I mean anybody can see if we keep playing like that, we’re going to win a ton of games. And once in a while, soccer’s like that; you can completely dominate the game and not win. You can’t really do that in other sports; if you don’t win, you probably got outplayed. In soccer, sometimes, you can have the majority of possession, the majority of chances and sometimes you don’t win. If we play like that, we’re going to win the majority of games and so we can really take a lot of positives out of this game and move forward with a ton of confidence, but we have to make sure that we keep playing like this. If we can keep playing like this, we’ll be in a real good spot.”
NYC FC defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe said of getting used to playing at Yankee Stadium, “I truly believe it’s the atmosphere that the fans of New York have brought. They have supported us from day one to actually have a football team here, and it continues to show by the attendance that we have, so I think it’s going to continue to get better and better. I’m excited about the future for our club.”