NYC FC’s Kreis: “The players need to be more brave”

The New York City Football Club suffered another disappointing result on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, as they got a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo.

The NYC FC winless streak has reached 11 games, and their record is 1 win, 7 losses, and 5 ties, for 8 points. It has been two-and-a-half months since their only win on March 15th. They entered this one in last place in the Eastern Conference, and Houston (4-5-5, 17 points) entered this one in eighth place in the West.

Kreis was asked if, at this point, ties are equivalent to losses, and he said, “I’m always going to be disappointed with ties at home. Although, I will say two weeks ago I made it pretty clear that you have to be happy about tie when you’re down a man and down two goals (2-2 vs. Chicago on May 15th), but in general, and our philosophy with this club should be that we’re going for three points at home all the time, yes.”

Kreis spoke about the mentality of his team, “For me, there’s a continuing theme I think that I see, that the players need to be a little more brave and a little more bold and a little bit more self-belief about what they are and who they are because, you know, we may not be the best team in the league for sure, but we are certainly capable of playing better, and we did for long stretches of that first half. It’s right to demand more from ourselves and believe a little bit more because, at the moment, I think we have a lot of guys that are just a little bit afraid.”

On how long it has been since they won their only game on March 15th and keeping the team motivated, Kreis said, “It’s been incredibly frustrating and it’s a huge challenge, and coaches need wins to have belief amongst the team. The team looks at you and wonders whether you know what you’re talking about. And they’ll believe that you know what you’re talking about when they win. When they don’t, you have to sense that there’s doubts, but I do feel like this is a team that’s still together and I do feel that this is a team that’s still supportive of me and my staff. It still believes that we’re going to get there – it’s just taking us a whole lot longer than we’d like.”

Houston got the early lead in this one, in the 16th minute, off a corner kick, when David Horst headed it to Will Bruin, who buried it in the back of the net to make it 1-0 Houston.

On the team falling behind early in the 16th minute, Kreis said, “I think it’s one of the hardest things in soccer. To be involved with a team that continues to do that, it can be very mentally frustrating. I think you saw that we were doing quite well and then they score on a soft dead ball. You can see that the guys looked a bit deflated there. That is something that we can control. There is not a lot of things in this game that you can control. There’s a lot of things about your life that you can’t control, but you can always control your reaction and your mentality.”

New York City got a lift in the first half from their captain, forward David Villa. He had quality scoring chances in the 1st and 20th minutes. Villa also helped them control the ball for 54 percent of the first half.

NYC FC had a great chance in the 46th minute when they sent a ball into the box and NYC forward Adam Nemec went up for it against a Houston defender, who was called for a questionable handball. The result of the play was a penatly kick for NYC FC, and Villa took it to tie the game at 1 going into the half.

Kreis said of Villa’s goal, “It’s always going to be an important thing to score a goal late in the half. I felt like the guys came in (to the locker room at halftime) and at least had some confidence and had gained some momentum.”

On David Villa’s leadership, Kreis said, “I can tell you it’s a very frustrating job to be a forward on a team that isn’t quite clicking. From personal experience, I can tell you that’s a very difficult thing. It can be very frustrating, it can be very easy to hang your head and want to quit a little bit. But for me, David has had several really, really strong and confident and leadership-like performances. This was one of them. But the Chicago game when we went down two and went down a man, he was a beast in that one as well. Yes, you want to see that kind of effort every single week and I feel like he wants to give it every single week.”

Mix Diskerud had another nice game, helping to set up numerous scoring chances, including two by Ned Grabavoy late in the game. Kreis said of the elements Mix brings to the team, “Mix has a tremendous amount of energy. He covers a tremendous amount of ground and you saw that again tonight. One of the most interesting things about him is, fitness-wise, he gets to a point where he looks like he’s about to die and then he gains a second wind and a third wind. I am very pleased that Mix continues to fight and to battle and to try to make things happen because we’re going to need that. We’re going to continue to need that from a lot of guys until we get to a point where we get to a point where we feel like we’re more confident and we’re an improved team.”

Kreis said of giving young players such as Thomas McNamara a chance to start, “I think we’re close. I think right now, I’m correct in saying that everybody on our roster has played. Certainly, all the field players have now played and contributed in matches. It can be a difficult thing when we need the players to show us day-in and day-out that they’re deserving of starting opportunities. I’ve never been one to just give players opportunities just because. I’ve always felt that when players earn it, they’re much more prepared to take those opportunities.”

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