Gabe Segal scored his second goal of the season in extra time Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium and NYCFC got another draw at home, 1-1 against a Columbus Crew team that was close to another win.
But Segal, an attacker, does not see much playing time and was accustomed to these big moments at Stanford University. This goal, though, for the moment, ended that lack of scoring frustration for NYCFC. It was that needed draw and not a loss before 30,615 fans that would have preferred the three points.
Regardless, Segal, on Friday informed coach Nick Cushing that big time goals and being a late game replacement have always been a part of his early career. The Thai goal with those added minutes came on a deflection off a Crew player, off a pass from Ricky Ledezema. Perfect timing that went across the face of the goal and landed on the foot of Segal.
“It is definitely big for me,” the 22-year old Segal said about the goal. “I think it being my first year, full year. Professional, it’s all about making the most of your opportunities. Trying to show the coaching staff, your teammates, and everybody involved that you are here to stay, and that us my mindset just trying to make an impact and get results for the team.”
And this was a result NYCFC needed. They have been frustrated with their lack of attack and scoring goals, primarily a reason they currently are fighting to get wins and not draws. Currently, NYCFC is not in playoff position and Segal may have pointed this team in the right direction.
“I think a lot of these games, we had a lot of these moments, but we need to complete the games and get the wins that we want and expect out of this club,” Segal said about the latest goal NYCFC scored this season.
With a major transition on this roster, Segal claimed off waivers, acquired from FC Koln in Germany after Stanford, got his second late scoring goal of the season. NYCFC has been outscored with eight goals during the second half this season which added to the significance.
“He actually called me yesterday and said when he (Segal) was in college his coach didn’t play him all the time,” coach Nick Cushing said. “Maybe put him on for ten minutes and he said “I led the team in goals, I just seem to always score even if you give me ten minutes just remember that and in a game when you’re looking up to the gods and you need a goal you remember those moments to put him in and he gets the chances.”
Chances that Ledezma believes will propel NYCFC to wins and not draws as they embark on a three-game road swing that begins Wednesday evening against Atlanta United FC.
“Oh yeah, for sure I think that the subs helped a lot in this game, at least, and that’s how it should be,” Ledezma said. “I always tell Gabe that when he goes in, he’s going to have an opportunity or two to have a goal and today he had an opportunity. He had two, and he finished one so that gave us a good boost. “
Ledezma said he hoped there was more time on the clock. Perhaps NYCFC with momentum off a late goal could have scored another and got the decisive win.
The momentum of this goal can change their direction. There has never been a loss of confidence, and Cushing has been around long enough to realize what a game changer means. But what has to be accomplished is a string of decisive wins and on the road.
To say the least, NYCFC faces an uphill battle. However after a draw, this is a team more confident to turn things around before they come home again in two weeks at Citi Field in Queens. At 4-7-7, 19 points, NYCFC is winless in nine games (four losses, five ties) and was coming off consecutive 0-0 draws.
“We’re getting in the right spots,” said midfielder Keaton Parks. “Producing good play offensively. One goal in three games is good defensive play. I think we have the pieces. We just need to finish the chances.”
This time, though, NYCFC almost ran out of chances and extra time saved them. The goal now, score more early and often especially against Atlanta and at Portland.
“We know that we can do and carry the game with the ball,” Cushing said. “We know we can create goal chances. For us it’s going to be difficult, but we are ready for the challenge.”
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso