It’s ironic that on a day where David Villa and Andrea Pirlo were both very active and in creative form that they would both draw yellow cards while Cyle Larin’s day was all green lights as he scored both goals for Orlando City (5-1, 15 points) in a 2-1 win over NYCFC at Yankee Stadium on Autism Awareness Day.
The yellow card symbolically served it’s purpose by slowing down the Blues attack from the start by attaching itself to Max Moralez two minutes into the contest. That cancelled him out for most of the contest in the first half. Even “The Maestro” Andrea Pirlo found himself marked down just before the end of a half. NYC would draw four in total. Jason Kreis was pleased to come out with the road win as NYCFC was busy sorting out their issues. “They are a very good team in a difficult place to play,” said Orlando City Head coach Jason Kreis.
NYCFC found they were not to get the sympathy of the officials as they found the Parley Ocean Plastics hitting the ground often to recurring boos from the 22,470 Stadium crowd without going into their pockets at all. But it was the second ball chances that killed them and that NYCFC Head coach Patrick Vieira pointed too specifically. “It was important for us to win every second ball,” said Vieira, “You see the way they play for the 90 minutes, it was the long ball and we knew if they had a chance to win the second ball, you open yourself.”
And open they were as Cyle Larin, who finished off a play to put Orlando City up 1-0 in the 30th minute, scored again on a cross as he overpowered defender Jefferson Mena in the air to powerfully head in the ball past Sean Johnson in the 51st. “Give him credit, he was in the right place at the right time and the way he finished his chances was very good,” said Vieira
It all fell apart from there as Pirlo was substituted in the 55th minute and NYCFC Captain David Villa and Ethan White collected yellows within a minutes of each other. But again Vieira saw the way Antonio Nocerino dominated the midfield and could only watch in quiet anger as the Blues failed to reign him in. “Their number six (Nocerino) touched too many balls and dictated too much of the game and we wasn’t close enough. That was the first mistake. The second was not playing the second goal well. They have quality and that was our main problem,” said Vieira.
But Maxi Moralez would suddenly put his finger on the game with two important passes, change the timber of this match. The first one found Villa who was fouled at midfield on a breakaway that only drew a yellow and on the ensuing pass landed in front of Villa, who was running up the right side and the former Spanish World Cup champion pocketed the ball on a short side of goal to get NYCFC on the board.
The Blues pounded away for the remaining 15 minutes plus five minutes of extra time desperately trying to tie the game and salvage something from the day but Max Moralez chance was the one that would remain as the one that got away as he actually scored but was called for offside. Jack Harrison made several excellent chances highlighted by his run across the box and left-handed laser that was slightly deflected. But in the end, it was on the defensive end where NYCFC lost the game. “We created enough chances to win that game. We lost today not because they are better,” Vieira said, “We didn’t take our chances and didn’t defend well.”
The idea that Orlando City is a jinx team for NYCFC was broken by Vieira with simple observation as the Blues dropped to 3-3-1. “They are not quite a nice team to watch, but they are efficient and they can score goals,” Vieira said, “They can finish and have patience, waiting for time because they know they have players up front who can make the difference. At the end we didn’t win so that means we are missing something and as coach it’s my job to find out what and improve the team.”
Luis Vazquez (@Cyberj2000)