New York City Football Club suffered a defeat against FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
The hosts ran out 3-0 winners at TQL Stadium.
Here are Five Points from the game…
The stat sheet told the story of how close the game was between the two sides, while the highlights of the contest explained why FC Cincinnati are enjoying a strong campaign.
When NYCFC were able to breach the team's defence they found an in-form shot-stopper in Roman Celentano. Saturday's performance has Celentano on ten clean sheets for the season.
Stefan Frei of the Seattle Sounders leads the league for clean sheets this season with 11, and if Cincy are able to claim the Supporters' Shield this season, they will owe a lot of that to their custodian between the posts - as Saturday showed.
NYCFC have no time to stew about Saturday’s game with a midweek meeting against CF Montréal on the horizon.
The Canadian outfit travel to Yankee Stadium ahead of Wednesday’s game, and it’s the perfect opportunity to banish any bad feelings and kickstart the march toward a playoff spot.
It was a point echoed by Nick Cushing after the game.
“We have two home games in three or four days and that’s a great opportunity for us,” he said. “We have to look forward, we have to recover, and we have to embrace the challenge.”
Soccer can be a cruel game at times.
NYCFC emerged from Saturday’s game with FC Cincinnati with an expected goals total of 1.1 compared to Cincy’s 1.2 Xg (source, mlssoccer.com). They managed just one shot fewer than their opponents, but found themselves three goals worse off.
That tight line was best encapsulated by Mounsef Bakrar’s chance in the second half. Had his effort not been well blocked by Roman Celentano, the game may have turned out differently.
The Boys in Blue just need the scales to tip in their favor, and the hope will be it starts this week.
First Forty Five
Conceding an early goal on the road is not how any team wants to start a game.
That said, a team is often defined by its response, and in the case of NYCFC they rallied. FC Cincinnati found only a few avenues for chances in the first half, and left Luis Barraza with little to do during the opening 45 minutes.
As the half progressed it was the Boys in Blue that looked more likely to secure the next goal. That show of character should not go unnoticed, as it speaks to the group’s resilience in the face of adversity – something that could be vital in the coming weeks.
Costa Rican international Alonso Martínez arrived at the Club on loan from Belgian side Lommel SK, and was handed his first minutes in an NYCFC shirt on Saturday.
The former Alajuelense man had some neat touches and combined well with teammates during his brief cameo, and the hope now is that he can carry that momentum into a big week for NYCFC.
Two games in four days means the squad will need to manage the load and minutes, which could hand Martinez the chance to impress.
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