New York City Football Club earned a point at home to New England Revolution on Saturday.
The two sides played out a goalless draw at Yankee Stadium, in a game that also saw Braian Cufré sent off in injury time.
Here are Five Points from the game…
While the Boys in Blue of course had their sights set on three points, a draw against the fourth-placed team in the Eastern Conference (who were leading the division a matter of weeks ago) is a decent result.
It also brings the team’s losing streak to a welcome end, and saw the squad display a much-improved performance from the previous games against Philadelphia Union and FC Cincinnati.
The City Boys had acknowledged their own errors against The Union, and were the victims of bad luck and harsh calls in midweek, but dusted themselves off to face the Revs, and could easily have come away with the win, as Keaton Parks reflected.
He said: “I think with Philly, we hurt ourselves, we made mistakes. Last game, we had some bad luck, poor decisions.
“I think we’ve been playing well, but we just can't find that final piece. [In this game] especially, we have to score goals. If we don’t score goals, we might lose the game.”
Closer And Closer
Once again, City had no trouble creating chances but ultimately, just lacked the cutting edge and good fortune in the final third.
Nick Cushing’s side crafted 17 shots in total (five on target), and hit the post for the third successive game with Richy Ledezma’s arrowing effort, while Revs goalkeeper Djorde Petrovic produced a superb display to preserve his clean sheet. Denying Gabriel Pereira twice with two excellent saves, the stop-stopper proved impenetrable to keep the hosts at bay.
Speaking after the Cincinnati game, Cushing had said he believed the team were ‘right on the tip’ of turning their fortunes around, adding on Saturday that one moment could prove the catalyst, as it did for 2021 Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos.
“Taty went nine games without scoring a goal,” the Head Coach recalled. “You can go back to he game where he scored – it bounces, and it comes off his shinpad, and goes in the goal. It definitely was not a ‘Taty Castellanos goal’ but from there, he runs and wins the Golden Boot, and we win.
“I’m not saying: ‘We’re going to win’ but I’m taking comfort in understanding that sometimes in this game, it just doesn’t go for you – then in the end, it changes and everybody forgets, everybody looks forward and the team flies.
“I don’t rely on that because I believe we have work to do in every area of the game, whether it’s pressing, defending set-plays… I will work so hard to make sure this team gets results, and I will guarantee it will get results. I feel like all we need is that one moment. The guy up there just needs to sprinkle us with a bit of good luck!”
NYCFC took another positive step with a clean sheet – only our second of the season with March's visit of Inter Miami CF the only other.
Against a side that had scored (as well as conceded) six in their last two games, the Revs were also creating plenty of chances, with dangerman Carles Gil identified as one to watch.
Cushing had urged his team to ensure the midfielder was not able to have his usual impact on the game, and the home side did well to limit the number of clear-cut opportunities on goal the visitors had.
Though they tallied 12 attempts, only two were on target with Luis Barraza also in fine form to secure the shutout.
Defending valiantly throughout, despite a makeshift three-man backline of James Sands, Justin Haak and Maxime Chanot, the team dug in to do what they needed to do…
Haak At The Back
There was deserved praise after the game for midfielder Haak, who slotted in at center-back with a composed and solid contribution.
The 21-year-old was restored to the starting XI for the first time in regular season action since the opening day trip to Nashville SC, with Thiago Martins and Tayvon Gray unavailable, and Mitja Ilenič continuing his recovery from injury.
The Brooklyn-born youngster completed the full 90 minutes, recording the highest passing percentage (94.5%) of the starters with 52 of 55 passes completed.
Comfortable with the ball at his feet, Haak was given the nod for his ability to ‘carry the game’ and Cushing noted his ‘excellent performance.’
The Head Coach added he believes Haak is on the path to becoming a top MLS player with his dedication and enthusiasm, as well as his ability, and his willingness to help the team wherever needed.
The last thing Cushing and co. needed was to have more players unavailable but Cufré’s dismissal and Chanot’s yellow card will see the pair suspended for next week’s trip to Real Salt Lake.
Cufré was sent off in injury time for a challenge on DeJuan Jones, confirmed by the referee following a VAR check.
Once again, it seemed the Boys in Blue were on the end of another tough decision.
Meanwhile, Chanot picked up his fifth caution of the season with a yellow late on, and will be absent through accumulation.
With seven days between games, the squad have time to rest and recover, but there will be changes again for the trip to Utah with another full team effort needed.
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