New York City FC suffered a 2-1 defeat against Columbus Crew on Saturday night.
Here’s Five Points from a tough night in Ohio, presented by Etihad Airways…
Thiago Brings Energy
It’s still early in Thiago’s NYCFC career, but there’s no denying the Brazilian has brought a spark of excitement.
The 20-year-old is a ball of youthful exuberance, brimming with confidence and intent. On Saturday night we were able to see the game-changer make his first MLS start for New York City.
It took some time for him to find the rhythm of the game on Saturday, but when he did he produced some smart passes in behind for Maxi Moralez as well as a good shot that stung the palms of Eloy Room (and an attempted bicycle kick).
As we said, it’s still very early in Thiago’s NYCFC career, but the youngster has already shown why the club were so keen to sign him. Gaining more experience should only improve his game, and that will be a fun journey to watch.
Almost The Perfect Start
One theme that has persisted with NYCFC this season has been a fast start. The team has consistently shown an ability to fly out of the traps, as evidenced by their goal in the second half against Columbus.
It almost happened during the first period when Gudi Thórarinsson was awarded a penalty inside five minutes. The call was eventually overturned by VAR and changed to a free-kick that ultimately hit the wall, but had the decision held it wouldn’t have been an undeserved lead.
According to mlssoccer.com, NYCFC had just over 70% of the possession in the opening five minutes, and if the team can maintain that intensity during the opening exchanges of their upcoming games they will eventually see reward for their strong starts.
The Streak Lives On
New York City FC exist in a somewhat paradoxical situation right now.
The Boys in Blue are creating a lot of chances they aren’t converting, while also enjoying a run of 23 games in which they’ve found the back of the net. That continued on Saturday against Columbus, thanks to good reactions from Nicolás Acevedo and Jesús Medina.
This team has tremendous attacking potential, and it’s a few degrees from properly clicking, but when it does it promises to be an exhilarating thing to watch.
Press The Button
NYCFC’s chance creation was solid on Saturday, but their route back into the game came via a familiar strategy.
Nicolás Acevedo deserves tremendous credit for reading the situation and sensing an opportunity to pounce on Lucas Zelarayán and steal the ball away. The Boys in Blue have become a good pressing team, and that ability to force opponents into difficult positions could be incredibly advantageous as the season goes on.
The goal was a deserved reward for a performance that deserved more. With a lot of games coming up in August, if NYCFC can continue to flip the switch and press their opponents in the final third it could be the perfect route to add some goals to their strong performances.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one – NYCFC win out on expected goals only for Lucas Zelarayán to score a free-kick and break hearts.
Ronny Deila had warned his players about giving freekicks away in central areas, and Nicolás Acevedo was adamant he did not commit a foul.
That said, credit must go to Zelarayán for producing once again. Luis Barraza may be frustrated that he managed to get a hand to the ball, but he should still be pleased with his overall performance which included a fantastic stop early on from Miguel Berry.
The Boys in Blue may have left Columbus frustrated, but they’ll have a chance to get back on track on Wednesday against CF Montréal (something Anton Tinnerholm stressed after the game).