The weather at Yankee Stadium Saturday afternoon would inspire excellent descriptions in a good mystery novel. But it makes for terrible conditions to play quality soccer. The game itself was no mystery, rated a level above garbage worthy of being dumped like the banks of snow currently filling out the entire home team dugout.
Note to officials: Baseball is coming in two weeks. You may want to fix that. “It’s not going to be pretty football at times but you deal with it,” NYCFC goaltender Sean Johnson said.
There was no fixing the result. A 1-1 draw with Montreal was a story in itself. A sense of deja vu. Lost opportunities. Three points off the table and a grumbling beneath the stands that implied that NYCFC was this close to a momentum building second straight win.
“It was the same scenario as last year,” NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said, “We controlled the game and were the better team at the end but didn’t get the points.”
Jack Harrison, last season’s wonder especially knew he had one chance in particular with his name written all over it.
“I don’t really like to use excuses,” Harrison said, “I knew I should have put it away. It’s a simple chance.” He was replaced by Jonathan Lewis, who made his MLS debut coming close to scoring on his first touches.
Vieira was not happy outside of one man, Rodney Wallace, who scored for the second time in two games fully justifying his selection of him to start at the forward position. “He knows the game, works hard in training and the game,” Vieira said, “When you win titles, you know how to do it. The thing I love about him is how he competes on the field.”
It happened in the 44th minute for Wallace. It was not enough.
The Impact are no pushovers after all as their runner-up status to the MLS Championship last year testifies. They evened matters with Dominic Odoro smashing one up into the upper corner of goal in the 68th minute. The balance of the contest was fairly even afterwards.
“Against D.C. United we created a lot of field goals and today we created and only scored one. We have to keep working,” Vieira said.
Vieira, like a good editor, is fixing the average and removing the useless. Looking at the Blues bench these days you find a lot of former starters as he settles on the best combination. Competition did that. After three games it has improved the level of play.
Though NYCFC are 1-1-1 they can see possibilities with the talent at hand. Jonathan Lewis off the bench. Placing Ethan White at defensive right wing over R.J. Allen for the second game was telling but effective. Peter McNamara, has seen limited time because of Rodney Wallace. It takes a lot of fiddling to allow the manuscript to see the light of day.
One man stood tall on the precipice of heroism. He is goaltender Sean Johnson, who made quite a few critical saves contributing to the one point gained. But his one error ruined the tale. “I did everything I wanted to do,” Johnson said, “Pressure at times. It is what it is. I don’t worry, I’m confident in my abilities.”
Max Moradez is the X-factor in this tale, a possible Lancelot, and in a playmaking role has authored some good chapters but the book was never finished as NYCFC, like incomplete sentences, failed to put periods to their statements.
It left the 18,515 in attendance without a happy ending as the shirtless contingent supporting Montreal loudly pointed out all game opposite The Third Rail. However, the offense is improving with the internationals having more time to work with the team.
“Maxi raises the standard every day in practice and is a great addition to us,” Harrison said.
The question at this point is whether time is all that’s needed or how the roles will be defined. The pieces are here and it appears it won’t be long before we see the high expectations and frustrations translate to consistent finishing. They grasp that and the great novel will be ready to publish.
Comment: Luis Vazquez (@Cyberj2000) twitter.com/Cyberj2000?s=03