New York City Football Club has had a rough go of it at Yankee Stadium this season.
In March, after they won their opening game on the road in Chicago, they had a four-game homestand, in which they notched three ties and a loss, and no wins.
At the end of April, on the 27th, they drew with Montreal after giving up a late goal, and won three days later over Vancouver.
The win over Vancouver started a three-game winning streak, and they tied against Toronto on May 18 ahead of a showdown with the Red Bulls at the Stadium three days later.
The Red Bulls embarrassed NYC FC 7-0 on Saturday the 21st, and they followed that up with a 2-2 tie against Orlando City eight days later, in which they gave up the game-tying goal in the final seconds.
On Thursday night, NYC FC hosted Real Salt Lake looking to get a win before the two-week international break.
NYC FC controlled play early, and David Villa had a good chance in the seventh minute, but slipped in the exact same spot where he missed the infamous penalty kick on Sunday.
In the 14th miunte, Villa was taken down trying to corral a long pass, and Salt Lake’s Demar Phillips got a yellow card. Andrea Pirlo took the ensuing free kick and it was deflected over the bar. They got a corner kick out of that, and the ball went to Villa on the left side, and he shanked it wide.
The rest of the first half was pretty chippy, as Pirlo took a yellow card and the game was scoreless at halftime.
NYC FC got on the board in the 56th minute when Villa set up Jack Harrison, who cut in from the right side and fired it from the top of the box to make it 1-0.
This was Harrison’s first start for New York City FC and his first career MLS goal.
NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said of Harrison, “Jack is a really talented football player and he really understands the game. I took him off because he started to get tired, it was his first full game. I am really proud of him tonight.”
The lead was short-lived, as Yura Mosisyan tied it in the 59th minute, after he corralled a long pass from Sunny, and then held off NYC defender Jason Hernandez to score and tie it at 1.
Hernandez said of what happened on that goal, “Yeah, you know they had a ball in the midfield. Kinda not a lot of pressure, so I knew they were going into a Yuro. I followed him and he made a move and I stumbled a little bit and with a guy like that, that’s all he needs. They had some dangerous chances with Plata breaking through and I was able to make some plays, but on the one that counted, he got a half a step and that’s why he is who he is. He [Yuro] can make you pay for it. That goal particularly is on me. You know I like my chances with most guys in the league in that position, but tonight I got beat and unfortunately we couldn’t rally and make it up, so we finished one goal short tonight.”
Harrison said of getting his first goal, “It’s been a great week. It was obviously nice to get a first goal. I was a bit lucky with it, with it getting a deflection and all, but I was still happy to just go out there and fortunate enough to get my first start.”
In the 67th, off a Real Salt Lake free kick, and a bad clearance by the NYC defense, Juan Manuel Martinez made it 2-1.
In the 74th, RSL was on the attack again, and sent a ball into the box that went in off NYC defender Frederic Brillant to make it 3-1.
NYC received a penalty kick in the 87th minute after it was ruled Kwadwo Poku was taken down from behind by Morales.
Villa took it, and cut the deficit to 3-2. It was his league-leading 10th goal of the season and 10th penalty kick converted in 12 attempts.
Villa nearly equalized four minutes into second-half stoppage time, but he put his attempt from the right of the net just wide, so the final was 3-2 RSL.
The loss drops NYC FC’s home record to 1 win-5 losses-3 ties, for just eight points in nine home games.
That’s right, just eight out of 27 possible points from their nine games at Yankee Stadium. That’s not even one per game, which is highly embarrassing and a missed opportunity to take command of the Eastern Conference standings.
Vieira said of the team’s play at home, “I have been asking myself the same question as well. I think when I analyze all of our home games there are both positives and negatives. The positives are the way that we play football and the chances that we are able to create. I think that today we did that, are movement was really good. Then on the other side there is the fact that we did not score. We do not score enough with all of the chances that we create. We have to change something. For me it’s the mental aspect of the game and we have to be more humble. I think that the team at times has showed too much arrogance and too much confidence, but we will get that straightened away.”
Vieira said of the mental state of the team, “I don’t think it is mental. I think that it is humility, I think that we maybe have over-confidence and I think it has become a problem. We have to be more aggressive in front of the goals, we have to be more ruthless. For me it is based in humility.”
NYC FC Defender Jason Hernandez said of the mood of the team, “I think we in the locker room are kind of left scratching our heads and we feel a bit snake bitten just because I think in a lot of our matches we come out with a good mentality and try to do the right things and I haven’t looked at the box score, but I didn’t really feel like Salt Lake was very dangerous as far as the shots they were putting on target and if we were under a lot of pressure defensively and somehow they come away with three goals. You know, maybe they had two shots and a dangerous cross that ended up as an own goal and unfortunately right now any little half chance or half mistake is ending up in the back of our net and we’re hoping our luck will change and we’re hoping we have a little more fortune, and the only way to do that is to continue to work. But tonight was just another night of just how things have been going for us.”
Vieira said of the second half run by Real Salt Lake, “I need to watch the game again to figure out what happened there. But I do think that even before Jack scored we created so many chances that we should have gone to the dressing room 2 or 3 goals ahead and that was not the case. I think that when you don’t score in the first half, you allow the other team to come back with more confidence in themselves and we make it more difficult for ourselves. But of course when you score the first goal you expect the team to be more composed and feel better and it was not the case. So tonight is a similar situation to what has happened previously where the team plays well and then at the end we lose.”