New York City Football Club’s winless streak hit seven games with their 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. Their record is now 1-5-3, for 6 points.
NYC FC Head Coach Jason Kreis spoke of how he is dealing with the tough start, “Not well. It just doesn’t sit well with me. I guess I didn’t realize it would be this difficult. I really thought, maybe I forgot how very hard it is to build a team in this league and have success on a continual and consistent basis.
“It’s a lot of sleepless nights right now to think of ways to make this team to improve and to stay positive because I do think there are a lot of positive things to look to and to have some patience, and that’s possibly my biggest downfall in my character is that I have very little patience,” said Kreis.
Kreis enjoyed tremendous success as a player, with the Dallas Burn, where he won the 1999 MLS MVP, and with Real Salt Lake. He played for Dallas from 1996 (the first year of MLS) until 2004, and Salt Lake from 2005 to 2007.
Kreis retired on May 3, 2007 and became the new head coach of Real Salt Lake. At the time of his hire, Kreis became the youngest active head coach in MLS at 34 years and 127 days. He led Salt Lake to its first-post season playoff appearance in 2008 and in 2009 he coached the team to its first MLS Cup championship, becoming the youngest coach in MLS history to win the MLS Cup. Kreis followed that up by leading Real Salt Lake to playoff appearances in every subsequent season through 2013, including an appearance in the 2013 MLS Cup, which RSL lost to Sporting Kansas City on penalty kicks. Kreis also took Real Salt Lake to the CONCACAF Champions League knockout round in 2010-11 by winning Group A.
I asked Kreis if Seattle is a model for what you hope this team could look like in the next 3-5 years, and he said, “Yes, certainly. I think there’s a lot of models out there. Seattle is a team that came from expansion, a team that has a very good fan-following in a fantastic stadium and a fantastic city. There’s a lot of things we can take from them.”
Kreis said of what he thinks about the New York City FC fans, “I am very happy with the fan response we have here in all of our games. We have built a fantastic fan base already but I think these fans deserve a little bit more. Hopefully they will stay patient and we look to continue to improve.”
In the game with Seattle, NYC FC tied it on a Mehdi Ballouchy goal in the 54th minute and Seattle took the lead on a Clint Dempsey goal foru minutes later. On how disappointing that was, Kreis said, “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.”
Kreis said on how much the team was missing Jason Hernandez, “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.”
On if he thinks that Jason Hernandez will be back for the Red Bull game, Kreis said, “We hope Jason will be healthy. He trained a little bit today, he will train tomorrow and we hope he will be coming back for next week.”
On if NYCFC is going to be active in the transfer window, including possibly focusing on more offensive players, Kreis said, “We are considering all things.”
On Pablo Alvarez’s performance as a starter, Kreis said, “I thought he did very well, especially in the first half he was really bright. He had some good decisions when to turn and go at their back four. He had some nice passes, some decent attempts around the box. He was a bright spot for me tonight.”
Alvarez said of making his first start for New York City FC, “I’m happy about starting today, but the most important thing is the team. We’re obviously disappointed about this defeat. We have to correct the mistakes that we are making. I think we have to continue to work very, very hard and look forward to the next game.”
Kreis said of any encouraging aspects he is taking from tonight’s performance, “We were the much better team in the first 45 minutes. But again, we don’t score a goal. We dictated the game, we had majority of the chances against one of the best teams in the league which has been together for a very long time.”
On how he thinks he will get the team to feel more confident for the next game against New York Red Bulls, “I think the team still believes in themselves and they should. It’s not like we have been completely outplayed one game. We had chances to score and I expect the very same thing next week, the guys believing in themselves, having a good week of training and preparing for the game.”
NYC FC goalkeeper Josh Saunders said of staying positive in the midst of a winless streak, “It’s really easy to turn negative. It’s easier to be negative than positive. We all need to be positive. We have to keep going because it’s a long season. There are a lot of games left and I think we’re moving toward something good. We have a lot of positive people and that creates good energy.”