Every cloud has a silver lining.
In New York City FC’s case, every match has their positives.
“Obviously we’re not getting the results we’d like, but it’s good because it’s giving us extra urgency to make sure we work hard day in and day out at practice,” defender Chris Wingert said.
“Our mentality is good,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “We’ve had a really good week of training. I think everyone’s really anxious for this one.”
New York City FC return to the field on Sunday night against the Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT. The match will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 and can be heard on 970 AM and 92.7 WQBU.
New York City FC (1-4-3; 6 points) come into the match without a win in their last six, while Seattle (4-2-1; 13 points) enters on the heels of consecutive victories, including a 1-0 win over rival Portland.
The Club faced adversity from the get-go in their last match – a 1-0 loss on April 24 at Chicago. After David Accam put the Fire up in the 20th minute, New York City FC was limited to 10 men after Andrew Jacobson was shown a red card three minutes later. Kreis was forced into a pair of first-half substitutions, needing to replace left back Javier Calle and forward Adam Nemec due to injury.
“It’s hard to learn a lot about that match when you’re down a goal and a man 20 minutes in because it’s going to change the dynamics of the game,” Wingert said. “We’ve been taking out of the last few games that when we’re aggressive and play in the other end we’re going to create a lot of chances.”
Kreis also emphasized the positives despite the result.
“The biggest one is resiliency, it’s the character of the players involved in the game,” he said. “To ask Matt Dunn to play right back, to ask some guys to play extended minutes in the game who had no idea they’d be playing extended minutes, to go through two injuries in the first half, to have a questionable decision on the red card and for our guys to be down a man 70 minutes and not concede a goal is a positive thing.”
Another encouraging sign for New York City FC is the health and status of players who have missed time recently. Captain David Villa and defenders Josh Williams and Shay Facey returned to practice this week. Kreis also said the injuries to Calle and Nemec might not be as serious as they initially thought.
Seattle, which entered the league as an expansion side in 2009, is headlined by forward Obafemi Martins and United States Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey. The duo are tied for third in MLS with four goals apiece. Not only do the Sounders boast one of the most dangerous attacks, their defense is just as impressive. Seattle has allowed just two goals in their last five matches, while goalkeeper Stefan Frei is tied for the league lead with four shutouts and claims a league-leading 0.71 goals against average.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” Wingert said. “Anytime you have a front four like they do, you’re going to have your hands full in the back. I think our best defense is going to be our offense. If we can keep possession in their end, continue to create chances and keep them away from our goal that will be our best bet.”
New York City FC coaches and players are excited to return to the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium and believe the home crowd may be the difference on Sunday night.
“I’m hopeful our fans get there early and they can be really supportive of us because I feel that’s the sort of thing that could be the difference for us right now and that’s the sort of thing that can put us over the top,” Kreis said.