The Seattle Sounders beat New York City Football Club 3-1 on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. This is the latest setback for NYC FC, whose winless streak is now at seven games. NYC has not won since the home opener on March 15th and their record is now 1-5-3, with 6 points.
NYC FC came out firing on offense, and their first big chance came in the sixth minute when Khiry Shelton missed a shot to the left on a fast break. In the 18th minute, Mix Diskerud launched a rocket from the top of the crease that sailed over the crossbar. This started a flurry in which NYC had three great chances over the next five minutes.
At the end of that pressure form NYC, Obafemi Martens of Seattle got an outlet pass and got loose for the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute. Despite NYC having possession for 56.8 percent of the first half, they entered halftime trailing 1-0.
NYC finally broke through in the 54th minute when forward Patrick Mullins dribbled the ball along the left side on a break. He did it deliberately to let his teammates catch up to him. Mullins found Mehdi Ballouchy at the top of the crease, and Bullouchy buried it to tie the game at 1.
David Villa was waiting for a minute or so to enter the game, and the one he would be subbing for was, ironically, Ballouchy. NYC FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said that he was looking for another guy to pull instead of Ballouchy, but the substitution card was already submitted to the referee.
Four minutes later, NYC forward Pablo Alvarez was taken down at midfield, and Seattle slowly started to pass it into NYC territory. Martins took it along the left side, whipped a pass to Marco Pappa on the right side of the crease, and he found Clint Dempsey in the center of the crease and Dempsey slammed it it to give Seattle a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute.
Kreis said of how disappointing it was to concede a goal 4 minutes after NYCFC scored, “Totally disappointing. We need to be better focused. That’s typical, the first 5 minutes after you scored, you get scored on again. We have to do a much better job there.”
Seattle wasn’t done, as they caught the NYC defense asleep at midfield and sprung Martins ahead for a breakaway goal, his second of the game, this one in the 66th minute.
NYC FC defender Chris Wingert said of the Seattle goals all coming off these slow-developing plays and then exploding, “Yeah, they know what they’re doing. They got some serious firepower up top, some clinical finishers and they know that, if we make a couple mistakes in the back, they’re gonna run on that line and they got a couple breakaways off of that and they buried them. So,they know what they’re doing, you know, they tend to play with four, attack with four, who are very, very good players, and then defend with six, and it works for them. It’s kind of what they did tonight, I’m sure they didn’t care what seemed to be more possession, I don’t know what the numbers are. We were creating chances and whatever. Go ahead, knock the ball around and as soon as you give us a chance, we’re gonna bury it.”
Martins had a chance at another one in the 79th minute, but he was taken down in the box by NYC defender Jeb Brovsky. Martins was given a yellow card for taking a dive. NYC had some chances after that, and the referee did not help their cause as David Villa was taken down in the crease in the 88th minute, but their was no call.
Kreis said on how much the team was missing Jason Hernandez and the game, “I think it’s a little too simplistic to look at one player and say if we have that one player we would have been much better. We come up against two of the finest strikers in the league right now and they are killers. They don’t need many chances to score and they took their chances.”
New York City FC Goalkeeper Josh Saunders said of Seattle being the most potent team the team has faced yet, “You have two world-class players [on the Sounders] and when you give them some time and space, they’re going to put the ball away. It’s rough. But again, I thought we played well, we just didn’t execute.”
Wingert said of how deflating it was to give up a goal four minutes after tying the game, “Yeah, that’s a good word, very, you know, and that one wasn’t a break. I mean, it got in the corner, I followed it down into the corner, and then he kind of crossed it, we had time to get back. I gotta watch it again, but it seemed like we had enough time to cover and Clint (Dempsey) knocked the ball into the corner of the net. I don’t know, I gotta watch it again to see what we could have done better. That wasn’t too much of a break, obviously it was in the box at some point, but it wasn’t a breakdown in midfield like the other two. It was very frustrating after we had done so much to tie it, and Mehdi scored a great goal, certainly changed momentum.”
Wingert said of if Seattle was the most potent offense NYC has faced, “I guess it depends how you define it cause, in a sense, yes, but in another sense, I didn’t think they were creating too much. I have to go back and look, but I don’t think they had a ton of chances in the first half. I mean, once we opened up in the second half, they had a few, but don’t think they had much in the first half. So, in a sense, yes in terms of their players, but I don’t think, it wasn’t like they were knocking the ball around and creating a ton of chances.”