New York City Football Club fell to defeat against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night.
Braian Cufré netted his first goal for the Boys in Blue, after Luciano Acosta and Álvaro Barreal had struck for the visitors, but Brandon Vazquez’s penalty restored the two-goal advantage for the Supporters Shield leaders to take the win.
Here are Five Points from the clash at Yankee Stadium…
Not Our Night
In the midst of a difficult run, everything seems to go against you.
That certainly rang true in this encounter. From a harshly disallowed goal, to hitting the crossbar; to a penalty conceded right after finding a route back into the game… It was a tough one to take.
The City Boys dominated on the offensive front, recording more than 60% of possession and more shots (12-11 with six on target) – but were ultimately undone by clinical Cincinnati finishing, and some hard luck on the offensive front.
A fiery stop-start contest too with tempers flaring, it was difficult to get into rhythm, while the visitors were content to take their chances when they came, showcasing their quality in attack.
The NYCFC squad are doing their best to remain positive however – confident our fortunes will improve, as Tony Alfaro declared: “A game like that is kind of frustrating. With everything that happened, it was a lot of emotions up and down. Overall, it is a learning process, and I think we have just got to move forward and keep going, and our luck will change.”
It was always going to be a challenging night against the Eastern Conference and Supporters Shield leaders – but there was no question the Boys in Blue left it all on the field.
Desperate for a positive result, the hosts started brightly and battled throughout, showing character to claw themselves back into the contest to try and salvage what would have been a valuable point.
Though ultimately the penalty call killed hope of a comeback, the team gave their all right to the end.
“I thought they showed everything we have,” Nick Cushing reflected. “This team has been reflecting and reviewing on performance and moments – the good and the bad – for many weeks now.
“What you saw was a team that was fighting for our Football Club, that was competing against a difficult team, a confident team, a big team – a team top of the league. I saw a group of players (and a lot of those players haven’t played a lot of football) fighting for New York City.”
Turnbull Turns Up
There was some positive news for the City Boys, as three players lined up for their full MLS debuts for the Club: Matt Freese, Tony Alfaro and Stephen Turnbull.
Freese and Alfaro had both completed the full 90 minutes in the US Open Cup trip to Cincinnati, while Turnbull had made cameo appearances from the bench against Chicago Fire and New England Revolution.
The 25-year-old defender has been a regular for NYCFC II in MLS NEXT Pro action with 26 games under his belt, and earned the nod from Cushing for his maiden first-team start, producing an impressive display.
Playing the full game, he contributed at both ends of the pitch to earn deserved praise from his Head Coach.
“I thought he was excellent,” Cushing stated. “He showed that he is an MLS player. He’s played in our MLS II team, he has proved he is a good right full-back.
“He still needs to perform in a back four if we change back to it – he still has to develop, he still has to knuckle down and work – but for a guy that hasn’t played, to start the game for us, to come in at this moment at home, when we’re asking for real fight, real desire and real confidence, he showed he is a real valued member of our squad.”
Another piece of good news saw midfielder Alfredo Morales make a welcome return to action.
The 33-year-old had missed the four previous games, having struggled to build momentum this term following last season’s struggles with injury.
Introduced on the hour after Cincinnati had doubled their lead through Barreal’s sensational free-kick, Morales made an instant impact, crafting a superb assist for Cufré’s goal.
Swerving a pinpoint delivery into the box with the outside of his boot for the defender to nod home, it was the moment of magic City needed, and hopefully a platform for Morales to build on as he continues his comeback.
Of course, it was also a special moment for Cufré to open his account with the Club. The defender had shown his offensive threat throughout the campaign, and was unfortunate to have also seen a cross-shot crash back of the crossbar.
Once again, there is very little time to stew on the setback with another game in a matter of days. City welcome New England Revolution to Yankee Stadium on Saturday, looking to complete this three-game home stand on a positive note.
Speaking after Wednesday night’s game, Cushing hailed the unwavering support from the NYCFC fans, highlighting their importance in helping the team to turn things around.
“I am so proud of our fans,” he added. “It was incredible to see the fans behind us after the run we’re on. It’s difficult to support a team that isn’t getting results, but I really appreciate the support. The players need those fans behind them, the players need to feel the support.
“There was a fan right behind me who was so positive throughout the whole game. She was incredible. When the players are low on confidence, and the results aren’t going our way, and the calls aren’t going our way, and the game is like it was, we need those people. We need the fans behind us.
“This will turn for us, and we will continue to fight on. It will make us stronger, we’ll use it, and this will turn for us. We know with the way we’re performing that we will start winning football games.”
New York City Football Club are back in The Bronx on Saturday, entertaining New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium in our final game of a three-match home stand.
The clash kicks off at 3:30pm ET on June 3, and tickets are available.
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