New York City FC slipped to a first defeat in 2018 on Sunday night, going down 3-0 to Portland at Providence Park.
Here’s Five Things we learned from a disappointing night for the Boys in Blue…
It was one of those days where nothing seemed to go NYCFC’s way from the first whistle.
When a ball spun loose, it invariably found its way to the feet of a Portland player and City were never able to build up a sustained period of pressure on the Timbers goal.
Patrick Vieira’s men controlled possession but couldn’t make it count in key areas, running into roadblocks at every turn when entering into Timbers’ final third.
Vieira offered no excuses, instead insisting that all of the credit belonged to Gio Savarese and his team for neutralizing his side.
He told reporters after the game: “You have to give credit to the opposition team, how well they’ve been playing.
“We had the possession, but it was difficult for us to find space and they made it difficult for us. They scored goals in the period that it was difficult for us. All the credit to Portland.”
It’s worth remembering that this was just NYCFC’s second defeat on the road in their last 11 trips.
No team in MLS has a better recent record than that, so understandable disappointment with this defeat ought to be weighted against this fact.
City have come back to earn points on so many occasions already in 2018 but this time the task was beyond them, as Portland strung together back-to-back home victories at a typically atmospheric Providence Park.
For Sean Johnson, this match was not a reflection of where this team is at...
Johnson told NYCFC.com: “We take that responsibility on us as players because we were given everything to be prepared for the match, but we just have to find it within to come out every day and compete the way we train every single day of the week.
“It wasn’t a match that defines us as a team and we’ll look to improve and move forward for next weekend.”
Although New York were deservedly beaten, the margin of defeat was inflated by a clinical Portland side.
The hosts only had four shots on frame compared to NYC’s three and only made 250 passes to our 761 but the difference was that Gio Savarese’s charges mercilessly took their opportunities and punished their visitors thrice.
As we learned to brutal effect, possession is just one metric to evaluate a game’s cadence and doesn’t always tell the whole story.
Timing is Everything
In retrospect, City’s best hopes of a recovery lay inside the opening 20 minutes of the second half when Vieira’s men enjoyed their best spell of the game.
With 30’ to play, Jesus Medina was brought on to try and conjure up some magic, drifting in from wide to combine with David Villa and Maxi Moralez but Portland scored just as NYCFC were building up some momentum.
Larrys Mabiala ultimately ended the away team’s resistance with his thumping header 25 minutes before the end, scoring against the run of play to make it 3-0, securing the points in the process.
A chastening but far from terminal outing for the Boys in Blue…
Back to the BX
We return home to New York next weekend when FC Dallas are the visitors.
It promises to be another tough assignment as Major League Soccer’s only undefeated side stop by, meaning we’ll need your support.
Get your tickets here and help us get back to winning ways at the first time of asking.
Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint…