New York City Football Club fell to defeat in the 25th edition of the Hudson River Derby.
The Boys in Blue were edged out at Red Bull Arena by Omir Fernandez’s second-half strike.
Here are Five Points from the clash…
Hurt In Harrison
Defeat on Derby Day always cuts that little bit deeper.
With local pride on the line as well as three points, there is always more at stake – and ending up on the losing side to your closest rivals is a tough one to take.
Head Coach Nick Cushing admitted the team were feeling the pain in the locker room after the game, and the City Boys will have to dig deep, using the disappointment as motivation to bounce back at the first available opportunity.
Though New York once again dominated possession, tallying 68.5% of the ball, the Boys in Blue struggled to carve clear-cut chances.
The visitors tallied six shots to Red Bulls’ eight – but managed just one on target, despite emerging into promising positions.
A combination of decision-making and a lack of quality in the final third contributed to a shyness in front of goal – an issue NYCFC will look to fix as soon as possible.
While City struggled to test Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel, there were glimpses of the free-flowing, neat build-up play – one passage of which almost broke the deadlock in glorious fashion.
The lively Kevin O’Toole skipped past his man, then combined beautifully with Talles Magno and Richy Ledezma to unlock the home defense, before the ball reached Gabriel Pereira.
The Brazilian opted to take the shot first-time with a delightful curling effort, and was unfortunate to see his strike bounce off the post and out – agonizingly narrow margins, and another example of fortune not favoring the City Boys at the moment.
A Work In Progress
Speaking after the game, Cushing expressed his sadness that the team were not able to reward the City fans’ unwavering loyalty with a victory, especially after a challenging run of form. However, the Head Coach also called for patience, urging a look at the bigger picture.
“My message to the fans is: the results are not the results we want,” he said. “Of course, our standards, our expectations are really high, although this is a different group to what we’ve had in the past.
“I take full responsibility for the results, and we’ll continue to do that. We’ll continue to work with this group, but there has to be an element of realism, and we have to be patient with this group.
“It’s the youngest squad in MLS, there’s many changes in our roster, and they’re suffering at the minute.
“The guys want to win football games, and you can see in the way they play. We just lack that edge at the moment, but no-one was questioning the edge against Dallas. Away from home, we’re suffering at the minute.
“We have to be patient with this group. It's a young group, and it's hurting inside the dressing room there.”
The fifth and final game of the City Boys’ tough road stretch sees NYCFC travel to Orlando City SC on Wednesday, May 17.
The Boys in Blue were unable to stop the rut of away defeats at Red Bull Arena, but with little time to dwell on Saturday’s setback, the squad have the chance to put this disappointment behind them and do so instead in Florida.
After a disappointing result, there is nothing the players want more than another game to set things right. Plus, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel with a deserved bye week break on the horizon, before the team return to New York turf with games at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, the motivation is there to give one last push on the road.
"It's my job, and the staff's job, to put that team on the pitch against Orlando with confidence, and ready to go fresh because it's a heavy schedule," Cushing added, "but we rely on the fans' support. We rely on them being behind us, and these young players rely on the fans being behind them, and giving them confidence."
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