The New York City Football Club saw its winless streak reach eight games as they lost to the Red Bulls 2-1 in Harrison, NJ, on Sunday in the inaugural New York Derby.
New York City FC’s record is now 1-6-3 and they have not won since March 15th, when they got a victory in their home opener against the New England Revolution.
The Red Bulls were powered by two goals from their star Bradley Wright-Phillips, in the 4th and 52nd minutes. NYC FC had a man advantage from the 36th minute on, when Red Bull defender Mattt Miazga took his second yellow card and was ejected, but could not take advantage. Despite having the ball for 71 percent of the second half, NYC could only muster a Patrick Mullins goal in the 76th minute.
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of if this was the atmosphere that he was expecting, “Yeah, incredible, incredible fan support tonight and just a great atmosphere for a match, no doubt.”
NYC FC forward David Villa had a tough game, as the Red Bulls gave him nothing all night and he was pulled in the 68th minute for Mullins. Kreis said of Villa’s performance, “I think David was a little frustrated tonight, I think he’s coming back from an injury and he’s got a little bit out rust he needs to knock off and, at the end of the day, we have to make decisions that are a little more future-thinking than just about trying to get a result tonight, so at 70 minutes, the decision was made, let’s protect him for the next one and keep him healthy.”
Villa looked very frustrated as he left the field when he was substituted for, and Kreis said of being concerned about Villa’s level of frustration, “I’m not, I’m not. I think he was a little bit confused as to why he was coming out. He’s such a born, natural competitor that he wants to stay on for all the 90 minutes and probably, if it was up to him, he would go ahead and get injured if he thought he could help us get a point tonight. But, I spoke to him briefly and there’s no problem there.”
NYC FC’s other top threat, midfielder Mix Diskerud, had a tough game as well, unable to get any openings against the tough Red Bulls defense and he was yanked in the 64th minute. Kreis said of pulling him, “I thought Mix was just not great tonight. I thought he was in and around things and not making plays, either in the attacking half or the defensive half, so we need to recognize that we’re not gonna all have great games all the time and we’ve got guys on the bench that we believe in, so we’ll make those changes if we need to.”
NYC FC midfielder Ned Grabavoy got a few chances coming up the left side. Grabavoy said of the hostile environment, “Well, obviously not great, they scored a goal right away. Maybe not enough urgency I think, probably a better word than energy. Goals change games, they score early on, and I think we did decently well to respond to that. Then, after the red card, I think it took us a little bit of time to figure things out and, obviously, I think the adjustment at halftime helped tremendously, and once again, two goals, now it’s two-zero, and goals change games. So, it’s obviously frustrating all around, I’d certainly be lying if I said anything differently.”
Kreis said of how tough giving up the early goal was, “Crushing, it was crushing. Credit to the Red Bulls, I thought they came out with a tremendous amount of energy and put us under, as we knew they would. But we just had a couple of mental errors there, and it’s difficult with a team that’s dealing with things like we are right now to give up an early goal, it hurts.”
Kreis said of NYC getting chances after the red card to Miazga and the Red Bulls’ holding them off, “I think New York is a very well-disciplined, well-put-together team that defends extremely well and hits you on the break extremely, extremely well, so played right into their hands a little bit because, they were in the second half going both of our outside backs forward and taking all kinds of risks, probably a little bit too early, and they hit us on the counter, which effectively killed the game.”
On if this was one they had to get since they had the man-advantage for 65 minutes, Kreis said somberly, “Yeah, for sure.”
Kreis said of what he said to the team after the game, “I haven’t spoken to them yet. There are some nights where you need to keep your emotions in check and have a little think before you speak. At the end of the day, I still have to walk away and say that I’m proud because my guys continued to fight and gave themselves a chance in the end by scoring a goal.”
Grabavoy said of how the team felt after Mullins made it 2-1 Red Bulls in the 76th minute, “I still felt like, at two, we could come back and tie that game and get something out of it. Just feels like this momentum against us is such a headwind and we’re trying everything we can to break out of this and start finding results. We’ve had red cards against us where we can’t quite find the result. We’ve had red cards in our favor where it’s the other way around, and so we’re screwed and we’re searching for answers.”
Grabavoy was asked if this game, taking away the spectacle of the New York Derby, felt like other games this year, where they had many chances in the first half, but just couldn’t finish and he said, “I don’t know if we had super clear chances in the first half, we had the goal called back (in the 18th minute), obviously I was shocked that he (Chris Wingert) was called offsides. I haven’t seen it, I just find it hard that he’s offsides when the ball’s in that position, but he could’ve been. So, we have that goal called back, and we had a few other chances well, like you said, so yeah, I think we still need multiple and more guys to step up in that final third to make something happen.”
Kreis said of expectations changing based on how the first ten games of this season have gone, “No, no, I continue to see a lot of quality and I continue to think that we’re close. I really do feel like every opponent we play we’ve been very close. We’re not quite there yet, I think we need some improvement and we need some more time together, but I continue to believe.”
Kreis said of what the rivalry means to him, “I think right now I’m little more concerned with Friday night against Chicago (at Yankee Stadium) than I am about the next meeting with the Red Bulls. But, as I said, I think that was a terrific atmosphere for a game and I’m certain that the return leg will be just as high an energy.” On what the thought about the fans, Kreis said, “Super impressed with their fans, really pleased.”
Defender Jeb Brovsky was out of action, and Kreis said of that, “Jeb had a nerve issue that he’s been dealing with the entire week through training, less than 15 percent. If it had been a playoff game or something, it was very emergent we may have considered playing him, but because of that, I wanted to go with someone who was 100 percent.”
NYC FC will be facing their first repeat opponent in the Chicago Fire this Friday night at Yankee Stadium. They lost to them in Chicago 1-0 on April 24th. Grabavoy said if this makes a difference in their preparation, “No…it doesn’t matter if we’ve played the team six times or this is the first time we’ve played them. We’ve put a tremendous amount of focus on ourselves. I think the easiest thing to do is watch yourself week in and week out – we do that, we’ll keep doing that and, like I said, we have to keep searching and find a way to first stop this thing and then get it rolling the other way. It’s on a number of us and I still have the belief that we’ll do that.”