NYCFC went down 2-1 to Orlando City SC on Earth Day at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Cyle Larin scored both goals for the Lions on either side of the half and David Villa’s late reply was not enough for the hosts to find a way back.
Managing Editor Mark Booth takes a look back at the game and looks at where it was won and lost…
Between Both Boxes
Another game passes where Head Coach Patrick Vieira will be scratching his head trying to figure out how his team failed to take at least a point.
This third defeat of the season had more in common with the opening day loss at Orlando than the one at DC as the boys in blue unquestionably dominated the 90 minutes only to come up short on the scoreboard.
Sadly, it was a case of Orlando making the best of their two shots on frame and NYCFC not doing the same as the hosts ran out of time in search of what would have been a deserved equalizer.
Following Villa’s exquisitely-taken sixth goal of the season, the fulltime whistle would have been sweet music to Orlando ears as there was only one team going to notch the game’s fourth on the pattern of play.
Too little, too late in the end but, at this early stage of the season, Vieira won’t be too concerned as he’ll know that his side should only get better as the season progresses and as chemistry continues to build between players in this still-freshly-assembled squad.
Everything between the boxes looked fluent enough– now, it’s just a case of honing the fundamentals at the sharp ends of the field to ensure they’re consistently on point.
It’s normally telling when a goalkeeper is the best player on the field and that was certainly the case at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
There are few goalkeepers in the league operating at the same level as Joe Bendik has in the first seven weeks of the season and it’s twice now that he’s almost single-handedly defied NYCFC to earn the W for his side.
His saves from Maxi Moralez’s volleyed lob and Jack Harrison’s thumping hit were befitting of a ‘keeper in supreme form, though that will be of little comfort to anyone in blue (or ocean plastic grey) following this tough home defeat.
Nothing Lasts Forever
It had to end some time… this defeat brought an end to a proud 10 month record for NYCFC at Yankee Stadium.
It was June 6 2016 when we were last beaten on the Etihad Pitch in a Regular Season home game but, like the old breakup cliché goes, don’t cry ‘cause it’s over, smile that it happened.
For 11 games, NYCFC have been indomitable on home soil in Regular Season play but all good things come to an end.
Now Vieira will be keen to string together another unbeaten run at Yankee Stadium in front of a set of fans who sang right up until the final whistle and applauded the team off despite the defeat in recognition of the efforts of their luckless heroes on the day.
Bogey Player, Bogey Team
There’s no team in MLS that NYCFC have a worse record against than Orlando City, so perhaps it was inevitable that our fellow 2015 Expansion Team would be the ones to burst the bubble of our unbeaten home run.
The Lions latest victory over us means that our record is now 1-2-5 against the Floridians and one man has had a bigger say in that head-to-head than anyone else.
Larin has now netted nine goals in seven appearances against NYCFC – more than he’s scored against anyone else.
No doubt his name is going to get plenty of airtime in the week leading up to our third and final meeting of the season with Orlando on May 21.
What did we ever do to him!?
On a difficult day, a positive to finish on is that each and every one of NYCFC’s three substitutes in made a positive impact.
Yangel Herrera’s explosive, rangy running and all-action game called to mind the playing style of his Head Coach at times after he was introduced in place of Andrea Pirlo with 50 minutes on the clock.
John Stertzer produced some clever flourishes in between the lines and looked a real goal threat during his first minutes with his new club - just like he did for much of preseason.
Miguel Camargo isn’t someone we’ve seen an awful lot of since he signed on loan from Chorillo in the offseason but he too advanced his case for more minutes with another impressive, brief cameo off the bench.
Don’t bet against all three seeing a lot more minutes in a busy month ahead.