Soccer can often be a cruel game, and tonight was a perfect illustration of that. NYCFC created plenty of chances, but couldn't quite put one away. Portland, on the other hand, were able to make one of their opportunities count.
The difference in this match was the finest of margins, but sometimes that's just how it goes.
Despite playing their second game in four days, Patrick Vieira's men looked fresh. Playing with their trademark heart and energy, they rebuked notions of the trials of a double game week late in the season and put in the kind of work they've become known for.
"Fatigue wasn't the reason why we lost," observed the gaffer. "We played against a strong team who are well organized and who made it very difficult for us."
"We played with tempo, we tried to create chances, and to be honest I think it was a really good game of football. I have to give Portland a lot of credit because they came here, they tried to play, and they scored the goal."
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However, despite the sincerest of efforts, City just couldn't get the ball to find the back of the net. That's something that Vieira knows is secondary to playing the right way and putting in the effort. On another day, those shots might have found their targets, but today, he's proud of his team's effort.
"I'm really proud with the way that we played today," reiterated Patrick.
"We lost the game because Portland took their chances and we didn't take our chances. I think both teams created a few chances and we didn't score.
"I think where we were not clean tonight was maybe in the last 30 yards. I think our decision making wasn't the best. That was the difference for us. They defended quite well, they stuck together when they went through a difficult period, but I think the way we played, the intensity, the desire that we had today, I couldn't ask for anything more from my players. I'm really pleased with the commitment that they had tonight."
Even though the scoreline didn't favor his team on the night, Vieira was quick to point out individual bright spots that stood out during the match. Tonight, it was Jack Harrison, who scored the game-winning goal on Wednesday, and Maxi Moralez.
"I think Jack had a fantastic game today. He was at the middle of the game. Every time that he touched the ball he created something. He played a nice give and go with Maxi, I think both of them up front were really good.
"I'm really pleased with all of our players, I think that everybody gave everything for the team, and I feel sorry for the players because I think they deserved at least a point from this game."
Vieira and his men will have another chance to get the job done next Saturday, when NYCFC travels to Colorado to face the Rapids.