New York City FC may have looked better against Minnesota on Saturday than in recent weeks but the results, which matter most, are still lacking. The team’s mistakes, particularly Sean Johnson’s own-goal, led to another split of the points and a continuation of the team’s worst start in history. Despite that cloud looming over the team, head coach Dome Torrent is taking a positive outlook on what transpired at the Allianz.
“I am very proud of my players,” said Torrent after the 3-3 draw. “They fought until the last moment. It was not easy to play here, Minnesota has a physical team. In the second half we played better. One point is not enough for us but I told the team, if you play that way in every stadium you will get a point. I am happy with a point.”
Ignoring the contradiction of being happy with the point and it not being enough, City did have some bright spots. Valentin Castellanos has his best game for City, scoring a goal and slicing the Minnesota defense. He seemed more comfortable on the wing and allowed for Alexandru Mitrita to be more of a center forward than we’ve seen in the past. When he wanted to move out wide, Castellanos took his place in the middle, confounding the opposition and leading to opportunities.
Conversely, that attacking mindset left City wide open. Minnesota was always one pass away from putting a player in on goal. They took advantage of that early in the first half, knowing that Ronald Matarrita’s defense was suspect at best. They were able to grab an early lead but surrendered it when City’s offense lifted the team.
“We decided to change because we need to get points,” said Torrent about his halftime tactical change. “We played with four in the back in a 4-2-3-1. We had more quality in the forwards and our defenders played well. Especially James (Sands), he was a fantastic player for us today, and the last game and he can play as a holding midfielder, as a center back. But the most important thing for us is the way we play, but the pity is that we needed points and one point was not good enough for us.”
The road to City’s first win won’t get easier. The team will take a trip to Washington DC to play DC United at Audi Field. DC suffered their first loss of the season to LAFC two weeks back but rebounded with a hard-fought win over Colorado. City will need to be at their best and healthy in order to get even a point out of this week’s game.