|DC United's Wayne Rooney takes a corner kick. Photo by Jason Schott.
New York City Football Club played to a scoreless draw with DC United in their home opener at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
This is NYCFC's second draw to open the season, as they tied Orlando City, 2-2, on the road in the season opener last Saturday. They have two points out of a possible six, and they are home next Sunday for LAFC at 3:00 p.m.
The stars of this game were the goalkeepers, as NYCFC's Sean Johnson made three saves, while DC's Bill Hamid made six saves.
DC United got the first big chance of the game in the 10th minute when Luciano Acosta fired off a shot that Johnson poked away.
In the 24th, Johnson made possibly the save of the game when he stuck out his right leg and kicked aside a chance from Paul Arriola, who raced down the right side of the field.
NYCFC's first opportunity came from their new captain, Alex Ring, in the 31st minute, when he got an opening just above the box and who fired it over the crossbar. He had another chance in the 37th minute, as he shot it right at Hamid.
In the second half, 66th minute, DC United got it into the box, but NYCFC's Valentin Castellanos kicked it out of bounds, giving DC a corner kick. Rooney took it, sent a low volley into the box, and Alexander Callens steered it away.
In the 78th minute, NYCFC had possibly their best chance of the game when Alexandru Mitrita took a free kick and fired it through the wall, and Hamid reached out to make the big save.
In the 83rd minute, Johnson got a big save of his own on another chance from Acosta.
NYCFC put some pressure on in the 88th minute when Mitrita had another big chance, followed by a header from Ring, and Hamid was up to the task on both of them.
Jonathan Lewis was a secret weapon off the bench for NYCFC last season, and when he came on in the 75th minute, there was a feeling he could be the difference-maker they needed.
In the 91st minute, Lewis was in the right place at the right time, as he was next to the left post, on the doorstep of the goal, when he received a pass, but he couldn't corral it and it went out of bounds.
NYCFC controlled possession in this one by a margin of 65.6 percent to DC's 34.4 %.
NYCFC Head Coach Domenec Torrent, entering his first full season, said of the disappointing game, "The result is a draw, we drew the game. That was the results, it’s not good for us, especially when you play calm in the back. We have a lot of games to try and win the game."
Ring said of the game, “I think there’s a reason why they (DC United) haven’t lost since August. They defend really well. I thought we kept their big players in check. I thought we could have deserved more. But in the end, both keepers played a great game so I think 0-0 in the end is a result you have to live with.”
Torrent said of the rhythm of the team so far this season, “Soccer is not about keeping the ball and having more possession than the opponent. We need to play much better. I prefer to play quickly, one to two touches, but I prefer to keep the ball and not play the long ball like the last game in Orlando. If you keep with ball, with the idea to attack it’s good, you can't pass the ball to pass the ball. Especially against a team like this, DC defends really well, they are one of the best teams when they defend and you have to play quickly.”
Johnson said of how he felt with the draw, “I think for us it’s an improvement from last week. We wanted the three points, but it was a tough game, it was a tough opponent - they’re obviously coming off of a good game. They were in a good period. For us, I think we have to really go back and analyze the game, but I think 0-0 is a good result.”
Torrent said of Johnson’s key performance in this one, “The best player today wasn’t just Sean, it was both keepers. We created many chances in the first half and second half and both keepers played amazing. I’m very happy with Sean, not because his job is to stop the goals, but he has improved every single day when we are trying to build from the back especially here at home.”
Ring said of Johnson stepping up, “It’s his job. He’s fantastic. I’ve been playing with him now my third year. I think you can always rely on him. He’s made big stops for us before. But like I’ve said, it’s his job. I think he woke us up a little…our first 15 minutes was too soft. We weren’t in the game. But I think after that, there’s no question of who the better team was for 75 minutes of that game. It was pretty obvious. We just have to, you know, focus on creating more opportunities and then scoring.”
Johnson said of battling with Hamid, “Bill and I go way back ‘till when we came into the league in 2010. We’ve been together along the way, so it was good to see him do well as well. I think it was a solid performance, I think it’s necessary when a team needs big moments, I think it’s important we keep teams off the scoreboard.”
Hamid said of the match, “We’ve got a great chemistry about us right now, and two shutouts in a row is really good in this league. For us we want to keep building on that and not only me, but Sean had an amazing game today too in goal for New York City and I have a lot of respect for him too. I’m just trying to do my job.”
DC United forward Wayne Rooney said of the match, “Yea, it’s a good point. Obviously, it’s a difficult game and a difficult place to come. I thought both teams had a couple good chances, Bill Hamid was fantastic today for us and made some really good saves, but I think probably a fair result.”
Rooney said of the field conditions, which were a challenge due to the abnormally cold weather, “Yeah, I think the field is not ideal, but it is what it is. We have to deal with it and cope with it and so I thought as a team we coped really well.”
DC Head Coach Ben Olson said of the game, “I feel good with the point, I would feel better with three points, but I think they’re probably saying the same thing. Bill came up with some great saves, Sean Johnson came up with some fantastic saves. Probably a coin flip over the course of that game, could of went either way, scrappy stuff typical NYC game. The important thing is we got another shutout and we continue to not lose games. This is not an easy place to come and grab something and we did. It was a complete performance, the back four was good and Bill again came up with some great saves.”
Olson said of what to take away from the game, “Even on a day where the conditions aren’t great and we weren’t the best in possession we’re still able to create really good chances. I’m not worried about us converting those, I think it was just a night where again we came up against a very good goalkeeper and I think those will fall more times than not for us going forward.”