A disappointing result only told a fraction of the story on opening night...
1. Dominance Goes Unrewarded
It may have ended up being Orlando’s night at their housewarming party in Florida but there were still plenty of encouraging notes scattered throughout the 90 minutes for Patrick Vieira.
NYCFC dominated every single statistical metric except for the most important one in this defeat.
The Boys in Blue had double the possession (68% to 31%), completed twice as many passes (539 to 260) and limited Orlando to half the number of shots they had on goal (14 to 7) but still fell to a narrow defeat.
It was a frustrating way to open the new season but Vieira emphasized after the game that his team will win more games than they don’t playing this way and so no alarm bells will be ringing at this embryonic stage of the campaign.
2. Rating Newcomers
There were six debutants in all on the away team through the night but an independent observer may not have realized it on the evidence of this 90 minutes.
Considering 10 of this 11 had played together only once before in preseason, the combination play and buildup through the lines of the field was strong right from Cyle Larin’s opening goal through to the final whistle.
Alex Ring was influential in the midfield engine room, providing a combative presence, while Sean Johnson was commanding and shepherded the backline with distinction.
Following the opening goal, Alexander Callens’ partnership with Maxime Chanot looked rock solid, allowing Orlando scarce few chances to double their lead and Rodney Wallace always looked a threat when dovetailing with NYCFC.com Man of the Match, Ronald Matarrita.
Maxi Moralez showed some great touches and, like all of the newcomers, will only get better with time in his new surrounds as this new-look team builds chemistry.
3. Ruthless Streak
There’s no getting away from it, NYCFC should have scored at least once.
Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik played one of the games of his life to prevent the away team from taking any points but Vieira felt like the matter should have been taken out of his hands.
David Villa had a couple of chances on either side of Larin’s goal, Jack Harrison was denied from close range, Ring saw a one-on-one chance saved and Khiry Shelton will wish he could have his time again when the ball was lofted over the top to him late on in the night.
Substitute Ugo Okoli also couldn’t beat Bendik with a couple of late shots he managed to get on target, leaving NYCFC and their Head Coach to reflect on what might have been.
Vieira said: “We need to improve our finishing – to be more ruthless when we have the chance. To play away and create as many chances as we did was really positive. We just need to finish them.”
Let’s hope DC United feel the full wrath of our frustrations when they travel to Yankee Stadium for our Home Opener on Sunday…
4. Scourge of NYCFC
And so the Orlando City hex goes on for NYCFC.
Cyle Larin once again proved to be the thorn in the side, scoring his seventh goal against us in just seven matches.
The Canadian international striker only needed one opportunity to spring the lock of the defense to win the game with his back post header, leaving NYCFC without a win in Orlando in four visits.
We’ll go again in May hoping to bring an end to this luckless run against our fellow 2015 Expansion Team.
5. The Home Opener
Following the flight home from Florida, NYCFC will train all eyes on DC United who opened up their season with a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC.
Despite the scoreless tie, this game at RFK Stadium was one of the best matches of the opening weekend of MLS and DC certainly will feel as though they did enough to take all three points.
Sunday afternoon’s game promises to be a special one as we look to extend our unbeaten home record against Ben Olsen’s men.
Vieira spoke after our Orlando defeat on the importance of the home crowd influencing the action and that’s why we’ll need you to create an atmosphere that will inspire the team to victory.
Don’t miss it!