It was a tough night for NYCFC on the road at New England on Sunday.
Here are Five Things we learned from that 2-1 defeat in Foxborough…
When it comes to this stage of the season, single moments have the power to transform entire games.
There’s no question that Jack Harrison’s red card on 26’ was one such moment as the entire complexion of this encounter with The Revolution altered in a stroke.
Earlier in the season, NYCFC were able to rally when Yangel Herrera was sent-off against Chicago and closed out a 2-1 win but this time that scoreline was reversed leading to a ninth loss of the campaign.
Initially, the signs looked good that the Boys in Blue would be able to resist New England’s attacking thrusts with one fewer player but Diego Fagundez’s deflected strike came five minutes after the interval, giving the hosts the confidence to go on and win the game.
A Harsh Call?
Jack’s reaction to that red card told us everything about what he thought of the decision.
The England U-21 international was straight over to Teal Bunbury after making the tackle to apologize after catching the New England man but he was not expecting the card that followed.
It was a tough challenge, no doubt, but would there have been an outcry if a yellow card had been shown? Harrison went in with a single foot and made contact with Bunbury at cleat level after sliding across the ground.
The playing surface perhaps played a part in accelerating Harrison’s momentum into the challenge which maybe caused it to look worse than it was.
One thing is for sure… Harrison isn’t the sort of player to go into challenges with any malice, so there was certainly no intent and Patrick Vieira’s frustration after the game was palpable.
Patrick told reporters: “I think it was ridiculous. The sending-off changed the philosophy of the game. I watched it again and half-time and full-time and I still can’t understand it.”
To make matters worse, now NYCFC will be without Harrison for our Decision Day meeting with Columbus Crew SC.
Peaks and Valleys
It’s hard to read too much into this one tactically because of the nature of the game following the red card.
However, scoring goals has been something of an issue in recent weeks, with NYC last scoring more than one goal in a game on August 20 – eight games ago.
It’s been a rough stretch at that end of the field as the Boys in Blue have had to rely on defensive solidity to stay in the hunt for the second seeding.
You can’t keep good guys down forever though and we know all about the attacking potential of this team when we take the year as a whole into account.
The MLS season is long and there are peaks and valleys to negotiate over the course of the year – let’s hope that this will be remember as our final lull before we pick up form to take into the postseason.
Johnson on Point
Not for the first time this season, we shoutout Sean Johnson for another goalkeeping masterclass as he kept ten-man NYCFC in range with another excellent display.
Our no.1 made eight saves over the course of the 90’ – the most he’s made in any game this season so far which was good for the NYCFC.com Man of the Match award.
What a signing he’s been.
Destiny in our Hands
Thanks to a favor from over the Hudson River, we still have destiny in our own hands following Red Bulls’ goalless draw with Atlanta United.
By holding our nearest rivals in the standings, Red Bulls ensured that NYCFC go into the final game of the Regular Season knowing that a victory is enough to secure that second place finish and the bye to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It certainly makes for a dramatic Decision Day, with places 2-5 all uncertain with 90 minutes left to play…