The fortune that favored the bold Blues since March went missing Sunday night at Yankee Stadium as they succumbed to the Portland Timbers 1-0 for a rare home loss. Losses have been generally sparse this season for NYCFC as they seemed to always find a way, with this only their second loss of the season, and first in over three months.
“I think if we continue to play like we did in the second half we’ll start a new streak,” said defender Anton Tinnerholm “but we have to start better.”
Between Portland’s scrambling defense and the ball not agreeing with their offense, nothing the Blues seemed to do worked. Maintaining 68% possession and countering at a blistering pace, NYCFC looked their natural selves, but a rare defensive lapse from Maxime Chanot would end up deciding the game.
“In the first half we made one mistake” said coach Dome Torrent “and when you make a mistake in soccer it punishes you.”
Mistakes have been made in the past but the offense was always there to provide cover, masking the cracks that Torrent and his team have been working diligently to fix. Four of their last six league games found them trailing early, almost like they have been waiting for their opponents to open proceedings.
“I just think we come out flat.” said defender Sebastien Ibeagha “It’s something we will have to be aware of and not wait until the second half to try to turn it up.”
Despite the flatness of their start the end result was a bit harsh, with the defense limiting Portland to two shots on goal and only a fraction of the possession. The good news is the identity this team has worked so hard so establish over the season remained intact, and the second half attack was a flurry the Timbers were lucky to escape unscathed.
“The second half today was one of our better halves this season” said Tinnerholm “we showed that we are a way better team, but today the ball didn’t want to go in”
The Blues have been finding ways to tally up points, despite missing big pieces to the roster. But they have Sean Johnson returning from international duty this week, and when you add that stalwarts Heber and James Sands are soon to return from injury, no one will be looking forward to having to face the Sky Blues home or away from the Bronx.
“I am very proud of them, they played very well.” said Torrent “especially in the second half we deserved at least one goal, but sometimes that happens in soccer you are just unable to score”
Having not gone scoreless since April 6th, chalking this up to a bit of bad luck and timing is fair. But Torrent and his men know they cannot let this game go answered, as they look to continue their momentum in the U.S. Open cup with their quarter-final matchup away at Orlando Wednesday night.
Contact me on Twitter/Instagram @IVconsideration