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NYCFC Notes: Kreis looking for more from Diskerud; team maintains expectations; and more

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Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Mix Diskerud’s struggles were apparent to New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis.

The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder was removed in the 64th minute of Sunday’s matchup with the New York Red Bulls, putting an end to a largely ineffective day. Following the eventual 2-1 loss, Kreis spoke to Diskerud’s performance in Sunday’s contest and his thinking behind the switch.

“I thought Mix was just not great tonight,” Kreis said after the game. “I thought he was kind of in and around things and not making plays either in the attacking half or the defensive half.

“We need to recognize that we’re not going to all have great games all the time, and we’ve got guys on the bench that we believe in, so we’ll make those changes if we need to.”

Here are some more NYCFC news and notes:

KREIS, GRABAVOY MAINTAIN EXPECTATIONS FOR RESULTS

The word “expectations” is not one Jason Kreis likes to use, but the head coach remains adamant that he still thinks highly of his club despite the current struggles.

Currently mired in an eight-game winless streak, Kreis says that he still believes that his team can achieve its ultimate goals, even if the road there will be a little rockier than expected.

“You use the word expectation, and if you remember early in the season and before the season started, I wasn’t using that word,” Kreis said. “It’s not a word that I like to use, so I came into this expecting that my guys would fight hard all the time and expecting that we would look to improve week over week, and those two things have happened.

“I would say how hard I thought the job would be, how difficult I thought it would be to get points in this league, it’s proven to be a little bit more difficult than I thought and I remembered back in my early days with Salt Lake.”

Kreis’ views were echoed by one of his former RSL players, Ned Grabavoy. A veteran with more than a decade of MLS experience, Grabavoy knows what is expected and believes that NYCFC needs to now get over its early-season expansion woes.

“It’s weird because I think if you look at the first 10 games, there have been some games where we’ve played really, really well, but once again we haven’t found results in those games,” Grabavoy said. “It’s difficult because I don’t think we played overly well tonight, but you certainly have to find points when you play well.

“You’re going to have games here and there when things aren’t quite right, that’s how it goes in this league with the parity that’s there, and I’m looking at some of these games where we’ve played really well but haven’t been able to find results. I think that there have been some positive stuff and certainly some stuff that we can work on, but I think we’re past the point of sitting here and saying ‘wow, we’re a new team’. We all want to get results. It’s a results business and we’ll certainly be judged on that.”

WINGERT REGRETS MISSED OPPORTUNITY ON OFFSIDE GOAL

Down a goal in the 20th minute, it appeared that Chris Wingert had provided the equalizer, only to see the referee rule it back for offside.

Following the game, Wingert expressed regret over the sequence, insisting that his offside position was not necessary in order to provide the finish.

“I’m so mad at myself because I thought I was on,” Wingert said. “I asked my parents, but I guess I wasn’t. I haven’t seen the replay, and I guess I was off, but I didn’t need to be off. When I looked at it, I thought I was on, but I’m sure I was off and I didn’t need to be. I still would have gotten to the ball, so I should have just overplayed it by a half a yard and I still would have gotten there and what a big goal it would have been for us.

“So yeah, I’m really disappointed in myself that I didn’t overdo it. At the time, you don’t think like that. I’m just thinking I’m even with the guy, but I guess I wasn’t.”

Following the loss and frustration that comes with seeing a potential game-tying goal ruled out, Wingert is looking forward to getting back on the field Friday against the Chicago Fire, an opponent that has already defeated NYCFC this season.

“I want to play right away,” Wingert said. “Enough time to get everybody healthy, for sure, but I’m ready to play and get this bad taste out of my mouth and score a goal that actually counts and just get out there and help the team try and win a big game, because at this point, every game is a big one for us.

“I really didn’t think that we played too well tonight, so we’ll go over our mistakes and try to rectify them and get back out there and have a better performance on Friday.”

KREIS PRAISES YOUNG PLAYERS

While the results, and goals, may not be coming, Jason Kreis is still finding positives in the play of two of his young forwards.

Patrick Mullins scored his second goal of the season on Sunday, coming off the bench to provide a much-needed spark to try and shift the game into NYCFC’s favor. Meanwhile, rookie Khiry Shelton proved to be a handful all night long, constantly threatening with his athleticism, leaping ability and speed.

Kreis was quick to praise the duo for their performances on Sunday, but also admitted that Shelton in particular has plenty of room to grow as the team continued to adjust to one another.

“Patrick has been a guy for me that, every time he plays, he gives everything he has, and that’s appreciated,” Kreis said. “Quite frankly, I think we need more guys that are wiling to give you everything they have. He makes intelligent runs to get behind the back four and he’s on the end of things, now with two goals.”

“Khiry is a player that can be really electric and I think the potential for him is extremely high still, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near the finished product. He’s still making mistakes, more mistakes than he ought to, but that comes with being a first-year player. We recognize that there’s a big future in front of him and development for him is key.”

Another player that earned Kreis’ praises was fullback R.J. Allen, who proved threatening down the sidelines in a second half that saw NYCFC throw numbers forward. Despite having troubles with Lloyd Sam throughout the evening, Kreis saw positives in Allen’s play and will continue to look to hang his hat on some of the team’s better performances.

“I thought R.J. had a good performance. He got forward well and showed that he was fit to get up and down the line for 90 minutes which wasn’t an easy task tonight,” Kreis said. “His performance was positive.

“I think there were a few other individuals who came in and brought something for us and I will continue to try and take every ounce of positivity that I can and keep moving the group forward. At some point, a bounce or two will go our way.”

Comments

  1. Don’t kid yourself. JK will never admit he’s wrong and will NEVER change his mind on an anointed player, no matter how badly they play. Mix will be called in for the next game and Dax and SK will not. Does anybody think Jozy is the best forward in the USA pool? I don’t. I think Charlie Davies is outplaying him week in and week out. Next weekend we’ll get to see them head to head. Also Lee N going against Mr. Clean.

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  2. When is it time to bench Grabavoy? The man literally brings nothing to the table for me…he has been with Kreis since the days at RSL but its time to let him go…he costs way too much for the little her produces.

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  3. Columbus is actually a decent, clean city. If BWP wouldn’t have been so selfish on his 1v1 run on goal, NYRB would’ve scored 3.

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  4. So it’s not surprising that Mix has struggled a bit in his move to MLS. Pretty much every European based player struggles a bit when they first make the move and do not reach their potential until year two in the league. This was true for Keane, Beckham, Henry, and Bradley. IMO the reason for this is a) the league is better than people give it credit for (which is especially important for Mix as MLS > Norway league) and b) the travel involved which wears on the players body until they adapt. If you play in Europe except for sporadic Europa or champions league games you will never face travel time of over 3 hours for league games. That happens pretty much constantly for MLS teams.

    Mix is a good player and he will adjust and acclimatize soon enough.

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    • MLS is not the most technical league, but where Euro guys seem to struggle is when they realize how big, physical, and fast this league. MLS may not be producing masterful technicians yet – though the technicality of the league improves by leaps and bounds every year, then takes another half-step back when expansion teams arrive and water the pool down a bit – but if you’re going to survive in MLS, you’d durn well better get your running boots on, and brace for some enthusiastic and very rough challenges. If you’re not up for it, it can grind you down in one serious hurry.

      Mix is, was, and always has been a bit of a lightweight, a guy who seemed like he was good for 60 minutes or so and didn’t have a ton of defensive bite. If he’s going to survive in MLS that is going to have to improve…personally I think it will, he was by a mile the best player on the field on opening week against Orlando, he just didn’t seem…ready, at all, for the speed or intensity of that New York derby…and it was very much a derby, which shocked me. But those fellas were going for it and put on some of about the 35 best minutes of soccer I’ve seen in MLS until that Miazga red card, and even then it was still a pretty decent game.

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    • I don’t think a few extra hours on a plane is really going to prevent a quality player from succeeding in the MLS.

      The main reason these guys don’t do well is they’re used to an entirely different level of play. Beckham never really played well for the Galaxy, even when he was trying hard. But he was good enough to play for PSG until the day he retired. He was used to playing around much better quality teammates that were on the same page as him, something that he wouldn’t get in the MLS. They wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the types of plays he would want to make.

      In Mix’s case it’s different. He’s on an expansion team. Soccer isn’t like other sports; you can’t put eleven guys together who have never played together and expect it to work well.

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      • Ah. So that’s why the USMNT has made the Round of 16 three out of the last four World Cups now. Our low level of play.

        So…by that logic, we should be able to just buy a bunch of lower-echelon EPL guys who would be willing to bite on $200K-or-below salaries, and just wipe out MLS with them, then, because they’re used to such a high level of play.

        Except that, except in rare occasions, these guys tend to not make the starting 11’s of MLS teams either. The EXCEPTION is guys like Bradley Wright-Phillips who have the raw physical tools to succeed in a very fast, very physical league.

        MLS, I will concede, is not the most technical league on the planet. But physically only the EPL, and maybe the Bundesliga are tougher. MLS teams are [i]athletic[/i] and very big, by soccer standards. Which is exactly why Mexico has been having trouble with us for years now.

        But a fringe guy in the EPL is still usually a fringe guy in MLS, when it comes to cracking into a starting 11.

      • Luke Rodgers?

        We wouldn’t have made out of the group stage at these World Cups if we didn’t have guys playing in Europe.

        Sure there are good athletes in the MLS but technically and tactically it’s light years behind Europe, which is why those guys struggle when they play here. Not our fault, the sport is new here.

    • Kind of have to disagree. Robbie Keane has played great since day 1 in MLS. He won a championship his first season. Becks was injured his first year. Henry was class every season. Bradley is just Bradley, like Mix. There should not be great expectations for them.

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  5. Mix was absolutely horrible/ non existent.
    I really hope Jurgen saw this game and will watch it over and over and I hope we dont see Mix called up to USMNT again anytime soon untill he proves himself.
    Instead Jurgen should give a chance to guys who deserve it and paid their dues. #1 Dax McCarty whose been an energetic work horse consistently every single game making things happen for his team. Someone Mix should learn from that you have to work hard on the field rather than jog around waving your “pretty”(not) hair.

    #2 Sacha Klejstan looking better and better with each game with great passing and getting himself involved in creating plays at the right time.

    Both these guys deserve a call up ahead of a joke of a player like Mix…unless he can turn things around and prove himself.

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      • Hilarious,….funniest post of the year.

        BTW – Klestjian? He has been OK,…but hardly a star. He is a good MLS player. Dax has Ben excellent and should get a look. Feilhaber is deserving as well.

    • I highly doubt yesterday’s game will affect Mix’s spot on the team. I also doubt Sacha will ever be called back up to the team since he has mostly underperformed when given the chance. Lastly, Dax is evidently a force on the team but the US midfield has little room for him to make a meaningful impact.

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    • This was by far SK’s best game and hopefully it continues. Dax had a good game as well although I’m not sure he’s better than the other midfield options for the USMNT.

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      • SK’s been looking very good in that advanced midfield role for NYRB. He and Dax are really a good midfield tandem.

        Shocked at how well – and how fast – this has come together for NYRB, but it appears that spreading the wealth around and ridding themselves of DP’s who make ten or twenty times what everyone else does has done wonders for their locker-room cohesion.

        They’re playing some really good ball, though…far better than I ever would have expected. Interesting how the teams that seem to be the most successful – other than Seattle and LA – have avoided going the super-DP route…and even Seattle is one of the deeper squads in MLS and has gotten more than a little out of their bench and young-player development.

        Names may put butts in seats, but maxing out bang for the buck seems to win games, at least in MLS. In some ways I really do like that shoestring mentality; teams have to work a lot harder to find and develop talent. It’s certainly producing a very broad talent pool very quickly, if not the most technical one yet…though IMHO, that’ll come as MLS continues to improve. I can see a day coming when 90% of the USMNT comes from MLS, and that day is not far off.

    • #2 Sacha Klejstan looking better and better with each game with great passing and getting himself involved in creating plays at the right time.

      Seems like a nice guy, but I never want to see him in a Nats kit again. The guy is nothing like the club player on the international stage.

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      • I agree. Unfortunately we see this where players who play well for club don’t turn up for country, or play well for country don’t turn up for club. I still think Mix should get called in as he has performed better than Klejstan on the international stage and is younger.

        That said, all players have bad games I couldn’t see this one unfortunately, but until Mix really starts hitting a poor run of form and it also starts to affect his USMNT play, then we should start to think about other options. It’s good Kreis subbed him out, Mix can’t start to feel entitled.

    • I’m not really sure why so much is being put on Mix. He isn’t even a DP signing, and was only made into NYCFC poster boy after the Lampard PR disaster. Yes he’s been in the National team picture but he was playing in Norway, that’s probably not even a top 10 league in Europe.

      Now if we want to talk about a disappointing Midfielder this weekend, Bradley pretty much cost his side in there home owner. Gives up a PK then just gets burnt on a counter attack. He’s looked lost much of the year.

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      • Funny part is he turned down DP money and a reported $1million to go to Columbus last year. I suppose he really did not want to live in Columbus, OH. My brother lived in Columbus for work and HATED it. Granted, he is a guy that has only lived in big cities in Europe and then Northeast US

      • I’ll say it once, and say it again: It’s a shame when players have represented our country aren’t offered the freedom to sign where they please.

        Especially when foreign players are given that very freedom. It’s absurd.

    • I love your enthusiasm, but do you really think Dax is who will promote US soccer the the next level in the world’s game?

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    • It’s rainorshine from the forum on Yanks Abroad!

      Now I understand the reason behind his obsession with Kljestan…he has the same first name!

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