Sunday, May 5, 2024

NYCFC's Streak Stopped Cold By Colorado At Citi Field

NYCFC's Mounsef Bakrar had his shot blocked in the 45th minute, late in the first half. Photo by Jason Schott.

New York City Football Club saw their three-game winning streak end on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, as they were shutout 2-0 by the Colorado Rapids.

Rafael Navarro put the Rapids on the board just 16 minutes into the match, when he buried a shot from the left side of the crease, off a feed from Cole Bassett and set-up from Kevin Cabral, who also got an assist.

It stayed that way until the 86th, when Bassett would cash in from the center of the box, assisted by Calvin Hayes, and that made it 2-0 Colorado, and basically sealed the win. 

Colorado goaltender Zach Steffen pitched the shutout, as he turned away 15 NYCFC shots, three of which were on goal. Steffen is a former United States Men's National goalkeeper, who joined Colorado this season after four years with Manchester City, co-owner with the Yankees of NYCFC.

NYCFC, who had been unbeaten in five games, fell to 4-2-5, with 14 points, and they sit in seventh place in the MLS Eastern Conference. NYCFC earned three wins and two-draw in this five-game homestand, which had three games at Yankee Stadium and two at Citi Field. 

Next Saturday night, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., NYCFC will be at Toronto, and then they will have a midweek game at Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.

New York City FC remained three points behind the Red Bulls (4-5-2, 17 points), who are in fourth place after they lost to Leo Messi and Inter Miami, 6-2. NYCFC's next home game will be against the Red Bulls on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Citi Field.

The Rapids are now 5-3-3, with 18 points, and are in fifth place in the MLS Western Conference.

COACH'S COMMENTS: NYCFC Head Coach Nick Cushing spoke to the media after the game, and here's what he had to say:

On the current five-game homestand matches and the performances stemming from them: "I just said to the guys that whenever we lose at home - whether we're on a good run or a bad run - whenever we lose at home is disappointing because we want to deliver for our fans. We want to make sure that we put a performance in, and we not only excite them, but we give them something to enjoy. We didn't do that enough tonight. We didn't create enough big chances. The small details matter, and we didn't get them right in the first half. For example, when we put two great balls across the box, and we needed it to be at the back post...It is always going to hurt when you don't win at home. 

One thing I say to the guys us that we delivered ten points out for 15 [over the last five matches]. Now, those 15 were all at home. The opportunity to take 15 was there. If we can put up ten from the next 15, it will give us an opportunity to solidify our league position. The difference is that three of those [five matches] are away, right? One of the challenges, one of the aims, and one of the progressions of the group is to be better on the road and to put points on the board while [away]. That has to start with Toronto FC. For us, it's about making sure that whatever the situation we're in, we add points... Now [in the next five matches] we go [away] for three and [host] two [one of which is] a Derby. It's a real test of our character and mentality. It's a challenge for the group, and we're on that journey and we'll continue [the efforts]. We'll take the disappointment, but we'll get back in the training room and on the training pitch, and make sure that we look at why we weren't in the races today, because we weren't. We accept it, but we continue to work hard."

On conceding two goals and the defensive performance: "One of our main attributes has been our intensity. Also, one of the things that I've been really proud of is how we've increased the intensity that we play at and how we've increased the intensity that we play at and how we've increased the intensity that we can react at. I think when you play a team like Colorado, their strengths are counterattack, and the one way that we're going to affect counterattack is by regaining the ball really quickly and having a real intense reaction. I didn't think we had that today. We weren't being organized on coutnerattack and we gave too much [referring to chances] away. 

In the first half, we gave too much counterattack away. In the second half, the second goal comes from almost a regain [in possession] in those moments. So, when I say we weren't at the races, it was in many different ways. We had 705 of the ball tonight. That is a real opportunity for us to create big chances and we didn't, and when you don't, 70% of the ball is a great opportunity to play against a lot of counterattacks. The two go hand in hand...We played into Colorado's hands tonight."


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