Five Points | Crown Duel

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New York City Football Club fell to defeat at the hands of Charlotte FC on Saturday night.

The Boys in Blue were edged out in a five-goal thriller at Bank of America Stadium, despite twice fighting back from a goal down.

Here are Five Points from the clash in North Carolina…

Set-Piece Pain

Speaking after the game, Nick Cushing spoke of his disappointment to have conceded twice from set-plays.

Set-pieces have been a pain point for the Boys in Blue this season, and Charlotte capitalized from a corner and free-kick on this occasion to claim the points.

With the City Boys having dominated possession (58.2%), creating plenty of chances (six shots on target from 10 attempts) to battle back, the Head Coach lamented the cheap consolations, urging his side to sharpen up at the back as soon as possible.

Highs And Lows

A mixed night for Richy Ledezma saw the midfielder produce a fine offensive display, crafting a delightful assist for Gabriel Pereira’s leveler, before diverting an unfortunate own-goal past Luis Barraza to swing the contest in the hosts’ favor.

The 22-year-old then saw a good effort well-saved at the other end, denying him the opportunity to make amends – not that there was much he could have done about The Crown’s third of the night.

Sometimes, luck is simply not on your side and NYCFC are in the midst of a sticky patch on the road, with little going right for the Boys in Blue. However, the squad must not be disillusioned by what they cannot control – continue to build on the performances, and the results will come.

City Spirit

Cushing was pleased with the character shown by his squad to twice claw a route back into the contest, especially away from home – a demonstration of the team’s fighting spirit and unwavering desire.

Though the City Boys are enduring a challenging run on their travels, the players are not giving up, and battled until the end in North Carolina to try and salvage what would have been a useful point.

Determined to turn things around, NYCFC will dust themselves off and go again, utilizing whatever time they have on the training pitch over the coming weeks to eliminate the errors, and replicate their home form on enemy territory.

A Team Effort

Ahead of the game, Kevin O’Toole had highlighted the importance of squad depth, asserting every single player within the squad was giving his all to ensure he was ready to shine when called upon.

With five changes to the starting XI for this game – to contend with a heavy fixture schedule – players who had not clocked many minutes so far in 2023 were afforded the opportunity to stake a claim for more gametime, while the substitutes were encouraged to make an impact.

Talles Magno made a positive influence from the bench, eager to ignite a creative spark, and found Braian Cufré in the box to win the penalty, while O’Toole himself was unlucky not to have registered an assist with Ledezma’s chance.

With games every few days over the coming weeks and months, that hunger to contribute will be crucial in helping City to regain their form, and hopefully build a strong run of momentum.

We Go Again

The City Boys have no time to dwell on the setback with our first midweek game on the horizon, as well as our first Hudson-River Derby of the campaign.

NYCFC are on the road again, traveling to FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night in the US Open Cup, before crossing the river to face Red Bulls on Saturday.

A new challenge, a change in competition and a battle of pride on Derby Day provides the chance for a switch in focus and renewed motivation, and the squad can only look forward to the opportunity to bounce back in emphatic fashion.

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