For Jack Harrison, Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Orlando City SC was eerily similar to a season-opening 1-0 loss in Florida last month.
“I think we have a good side, a good midfield and they have a good midfield, but I feel we were a bit more dominant today,” Harrison said. “The last couple of minutes, the same thing happened last game, they were on the back foot and we just struggled to get that final goal. It’s something we’re going to be looking at the next time we see them.”
With a possession-based playing-style, NYCFC showcases its technical and tactical acumen every match day. But on Sunday, they faced a team with a different game plan, one that involved more brawn than skill.
“They’re a very physical team, a team that works hard, they battle and I think they were a better physical team, their level of intensity for longer stretches was better for them,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “We’re a team that is a very good, solid, technical team and we have guys who are gritty, but we have to be able to match the level of intensity, especially with physical teams to give us a chance.”
Cyle Larin continued to haunt NYCFC, netting a brace to increase his total to nine goals in seven all-time meetings. But NYCFC also failed to capitalize on numerous chances, especially in the final quarter hour.
“We knew Cyle was a big threat to us and unfortunately we were unable to shut him down today,” Harrison said. “He scored two good goals in the box that could have easily been prevented, but we had our chances as well again on the other side and we struggled to put them away so it goes both ways really.”
Defender Maxime Chanot said it was more about two quality goals than a dominant performance by the visitors. In fact, Larin’s two goals were just two of three shots the Lions put on frame.
NYCFC had 62.9 percent possession, won 12 corners and put seven shots on goal with Joe Bendik coming up with six big saves to keep NYCFC from leveling. Orlando City SC also won seven more duels, including a few important second balls.
NYCFC also had a pair of penalty shouts in the second half that referee Sorin Stoica didn’t award.
“Let’s be honest with ourselves and the game, they scored twice. We should maybe score more than once. If we won the game 3-2 it wouldn’t be a shame,” Chanot said. “I don’t want to blame the referee, I think we have to think of ourselves first, but I don’t think the referee helped us during the game.
"He forgets one or two penalties that maybe might change the game. I don’t want to talk too much about this. It’s a game we have to forget, congratulations to Orlando and we have to get back to work on Tuesday.”