New York City FC tied 1-1 with DC United on Saturday evening on Hispanic Heritage Night at Yankee Stadium.
Here’s Five Points from a dramatic encounter at Yankee Stadium…
While this wasn’t the result we wanted, there were positive notes for Domènec Torrent to reflect upon after the match.
For the second game in a week, the Boys in Blue dominated but were unable to put away one of the plentiful chances served up and the visitors scored with their first meaningful attempt on goal.
While finishing chances is an important part of the game, Torrent believes that playing this way will stand City in good stead when the MLS Playoffs come around.
Torrent said: “I think right now, I say tonight, if we’re able to play in that way, not just here at Yankee Stadium, even away, I say to you right now we have more possibilities to win MLS.
“When I say many times I want to create one style. The style is the way to play tonight — keep the ball, create chances, play inside, after that play outside. But the sport is about the result and the result is not good for us because we miss five points in the last two games in Yankee Stadium.”
There were also mitigating circumstances to consider again for Torrent and his band of Blues.
NYCFC were missing eight international players for this encounter (Berget, Chanot, Herrera, Medina, Ofori, Ring, Tajouri-Shradi, Wallace), a real pile-up of top talent to be going into a clash with an in-form DC without.
Once again, NYCFC didn’t get the rub of the green when it came to refereeing decisions either, with Villa being denied a penalty for what looked like a trip in the box.
The referee looked the other way and then gave DC a soft free-kick which they scored with, courtesy of their only shot on target – a header from Steve Birnbaum.
City huffed and puffed but it took a special moment from the captain to rescue a point, despite an avalanche of good chances.
It was two points fewer than NYC deserved but, following that suckerpunch defeat to New England in midweek, at least this time the boys got a share of the spoils.
Villa’s free-kick was his 11th goal of the season, tying him for team top scorer with Isi Tajouri-Shradi.
That means David has scored a goal on average every 124 minutes he’s been on the field in 2018, with a strike ratio that’s better than a goal every 1.5 games, showing that he’s still one of the league’s most devastating forwards.
With the Playoffs looming over the horizon, and with many of El Guaje’s teammates working their way back to full fitness, or returning from international duty, it’s good to have the 36-year old fully fit and firing at an important time in the year.
Sands of Time
… and how about a word on the 18-year old?
James Sands started his second game for NYCFC inside a week on Saturday, lining up against one of the greatest forwards of the modern era, Wayne Rooney.
Sands acquitted himself well once again and earned the praise of his Head Coach, who knows that the Rye native needs to be playing regularly to maximize on his potential.
Torrent said of Sands: “Jimmy played amazing, he played like someone with experience in MLS.
“Maybe the next month he plays in another team, because I need Jimmy to play in every single game (week).”
Could another loan be coming up for the talented teenager? Watch this space.
And now we head into a long break without games and Torrent will have the opportunity to assimilate important pieces of his squad back together ahead of the post-season.
It’s a well-worn maxim that form counts most down the league back straight, going into the Playoffs, and City have every reason to believe that this difficult spell we’ve been through might be coming to an end and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Montreal are up next towards the end of September and now NYCFC can focus on building chemistry and finishing as high up the Eastern Conference as possible to earn a preferential draw in the Playoffs.
Everything we wanted out of this season is still on the table.