A Draw For NYCFC But They Need Wins


A point is a point in the MLS but it’s not three in the standings for NYCFC, and Wednesday night at Citi Field they settled for a 1-1 draw against Charlotte FC. After being down a goal in the 17th minute, Braian Cufre scored a left-footed shot from the left to the top left corner of the goal.

Not a loss for NYCFC but there is more of a need for three points and wins. Charlotte and NYCFC are neck-and-neck in the Eastern division. Both teams are battling to secure an 8th or 9th final spot in the standings and NYCFC with this draw still remained unbeaten in their seventh- straight match.

But they needed a clean win, three points to surpass Charlotte and make their move in the standings before an extensive road trip that begins Saturday evening at Columbus for their second and final meeting.

Yes, it’s frustrating not gaining the needed points at this juncture of their season. And without a home match in the next month, coach Nick Cushing and his team are facing a battle, though encouraged about the fight and ability to overcome another deficit before the home crowd.

I said to the guys it was really frustrating,” Cushing said. “But I think what we have to do and continue to do through this period is understand where we’ve come from. We’re losing football games where we create all chances and we are giving away big chances.”

Their unbeaten streak ties the New England Revolution for the longest in the league and dates back to their 17th match meeting that ended in a 0-0 draw. Again, it comes down to wins and three points to make an impact in the standings, the 6th draw in their last seven matches continues to show resilience but lack of finding the net.

It was important because we’re coming off a long stretch,” said midfielder Richard Ledezma.”Our mindset coming into the game was amazing. “We have to come down from 1-0, we never stop fighting. Our team is really motivated to get three points at Columbus this weekend.”

Jul 5, 2023; Queens, New York, USA; New York City FC midfielder Justin Haak (80) steals the ball from Charlotte FC midfielder Kamil Jóźwiak (7) during the second half at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Ledezma, part of a lineup change replacing the suspended Santiago Rodriguez for yellow card violations, said a point will help NYCFC in the standings. In the long run, though, Saturday and the Columbus Crew, a good team is ahead of NYCFC in the standings and rarely settles for a draw.

So what will it take for NYCFC to get an advantage early and gain momentum? Their obvious focus is a clean win and compiling three points in the standings because managing to find an equalizer in the 81st minute is not the answer.

NYCFC continued to pile on pressure, with Keaton Parks able to launch an effort from range that was deflected behind by a Charlotte player. They attacked but it was not enough and that has been a part of the frustration in efforts to avoid a draw.

They maintained dominance and held an advantage over Charlotte in expected goal rate (1.85 to 0.19), shots (21-3), shots on target (5-2), shots inside the box (14-1). With Cufre’s goal, NYCFC has scored at least one goal in their last five matches.

We’re on a path here and I’m proud of the guys because they’re grinding and what not and our performance tonight was probably our best so we are improving but we understand that we want to win too,” said Cushing. “I knew we would get back into it, and I actually thought we were going to win it, but we just couldn’t get that second goal.”

Nevertheless, it is still a learning process for a young roster that continues to work on improvements during a hectic MLS schedule.

Cushing added, “I think we’ve got as many positives as what we might perceive as negatives and we have to focus on the positives because we’re this far away as a team. Ultimately when you lose in football games like we did, the best way of turning those into draws or wins is to keep calm, get long games, and save it. We’ve worked and worked really hard and I’m proud of that.”

In the end, though, it amounts to more shots on goal. It means converting those opportunities to secure three points and a win. NYCFC went right back to work Thursday morning with minimal time to rest.

All they need is points, three and not one. Draws are not going to make an impact on the standings with their fight to make the postseason.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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