NYCFC Month Review – March 2016

Since NYCFC is off this week, let’s look back on the past month of New York City FC’s performance.  From the 2016 MLS season opener, through the first 3 home games at Yankee Stadium, it’s important to reflect on what we did well and what we didn’t.

March 6, 2016 – NYCFC v Chicago Fire

The first month of NYCFC’s second season kicked off in an exciting fashion.  With a 4-3 victory over Chicago, NYCFC’s attacking game seemed to be the most improved over last season.  Right from kickoff, they seemed energized, excited, and willing and able to score.  And they did.  4 times!  Starting with Tommy McNamara scoring the first goal of the entire MLS season.  I don’t think anyone can argue that it was a breath of fresh air in terms of the offensive ability of the team.

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06: Thomas McNamara #15 of the New York City FC celebrates a first half goal against the Chicago Fire with Ronald Matarrita #22 and Tony Taylor #99 at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

BRIDGEVIEW, IL – MARCH 06: Thomas McNamara #15 of the New York City FC celebrates a first half goal against the Chicago Fire with Ronald Matarrita #22 and Tony Taylor #99 at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC
defeated the Fire 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Despite putting 4 goals in the net, the defensive display seemed to be something out of Jason Kreis’ playbook.  Whether it was Brillant’s inability to get rid of the ball quick enough, or allowing the fast paced Chicago attackers to get in behind the line, we were back to the NYCFC defense of old.  What would Patrick Vieira do?

 

March 13, 2016 – Home Opener v Toronto FC

In the 2016 NYCFC Home Opener, Yankee Stadium was packed with over 30,000 fans.  Excited to keep the 3 point momentum going, we couldn’t wait to see the heavy attacking team back on the pitch.  The first surprise was Patrick Vieira’s use of the 3-2-2-3, or the W-M formation.  As soon as we saw 3 in the back, we immediately thought, uh-oh.

David Villa taking on a defender.  (Photo Credit: Joe Amato)

BRONX, NY – MARCH 13, 2016: David Villa taking on a defender. (Photo by Joe Amato)

Despite only having 3 in the back, NYCFC went up 2-0 in the first half.  Both goals scored by none other than David Villa.  El Guaje.  El Capitan! And then Toronto scored.  With seconds left in the first half, Toronto put one in on a free kick in what seemed to be the beginning of the end for us in game 2.  Toronto then ultimately scored in the second half, resulting in a draw.

In my eyes though, it was a loss.  When you’re up 2-0 at home against a team you’re undefeated against, you’ve gotta shut them down.  We spoke about this in Dudes in Blue Episode 5.  A better performance, in my opinion, against a better team.  So progress, right?

March 18, 2016 / March 26, 2016 – Games of Missed Chances

NYCFC took on Orlando City at home on March 18 and walked away with zero points in a 1-0 loss.  Then took only 1 point against the New England Revolution on March 26 at home.  The reason both of these games are grouped together, in my opinion, are because on paper, we should have won both of them.  Here are the stats for both of those games:

Portable Network Graphics image-F7C016965132-1 nycfc stats

In every aspect, we should have won both of those games.  Possession, shots, passes, corners.  But out of those two games we got a single point.  And out of the first 3 home games, only 2 points total.  What happened to our finishing from game 1?

Trouble Spots

Out of the first 4 games of the season, NYCFC look to be off to a shaky start.  With only 5 points out of a possible 12, this is unacceptable with stats like these.  In my opinion our biggest issue has been scoring.  Plain and simple.  Defensively we’re not allowing as many goals as usual, despite only playing with 3 in the back at home.  If we can just put that final piece of the puzzle in place, our goal count should be higher than our opponents.

Silver Linings

Our midfield seems to be really connecting.  Pirlo seems to be able to do more with Bravo by his side, Mix & Mac can really shine and create chances, and in Tommy’s case, score.  Not to mention we’ve got a good bench of midfielders to sub in.  Who can forget Poku?  I’d like to see what Mikey Lopez can do, personally.

On defense, Jason Hernandez is becoming my Shay Facey of 2016.  He’s turning into a real aggressive defender which is what we need.  And my personal favorite, Mr. Ronald Matarrita!  Our saving grace in the back.  His clean tackles and pace make him difficult to get through for any attacker we’ve seen so far.  Whatever Patrick is doing with him, keep it going!

Overall, I love our chance creation, our defense is looking a little better than before, and we’ve got some depth on the bench.  Now we just have to move into April and come away with more than 5 points.  Put it in the net guys!  That’s your job.  Do it well.  Do it often!

-Joe Amato

 

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