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Resilient NYCFC looks to turn season around following comeback draw

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports

BY MICHAEL PENG

NEW YORK — It was setting up to be another disappointing night in the Bronx for New York City FC, but the men donning sky blue dug deep and found the resiliency and belief they needed to somehow rescue a point amid all the odds that were stacked against them.

“I think it’s one of the most special moments of my coaching career to be honest,” head coach Jason Kreis said after his club earned a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire on Friday. “To be two goals down and a man down for as long as we were, to come back and draw shows what kind of character this group has.”

NYCFC has not won a game at Yankee Stadium since its home opener two months ago, and from the way the game going in the first half hour on Friday, things again looked bleak for Kreis’ club.

The Fire had built a two-goal lead and got NYCFC defender R.J. Allen sent off via a straight red just 27 minutes into the contest, but the home team managed to stay even-keeled for the remainder of the game to mount the comeback.

“I do not remember in my entire career to be in a similar situation, being with 10 men for over 70 minutes and to show this attitude and how we dominated the game after that,” forward David Villa said through an interpreter after the game. “I think it was fantastic to come back from 2-0 down and score goals and not concede any. It was a fantastic attitude from the team.”

Villa’s efforts were vital in the rally, as he was a catalyst in both of NYCFC’s goals. The first came just before halftime as the rebound off his shot was cleaned up by Medhi Ballouchy, who now leads the team with three scores.

“Goals can come at really critical moments in matches,” Kreis said. “Scoring right before halftime really shifts the momentum and sends us into the locker room thinking we can do this.”

Chicago had dominated the first half but NYCFC’s energy coming out of the break made up for the disadvantage in numbers.

“There were quite a few players that really were willing to do anything tonight to get us that result. It was incredibly important,” Kreis said. “I need them to understand and believe that we’re good enough if we work that hard.”

Still, the equalizer from Khiry Shelton — who scored his first MLS career goal — did not come until stoppage time, so all of NYCFC’s efforts could have gone in vain, but midfielder Mix Diskerud recalled a childhood memory to keep the faith.

“That’s the beauty about soccer, you always believe, and I watch enough soccer to know that. I’ve come down 5-0 and won the game 6-5 when I was 14 years old. So those memories help,” Diskerud said. “You can’t give up.”

With the draw, which Diskerud also called the game “the best tie [he’s] ever experienced in [his] life,” NYCFC snaps a four-game losing streak, and many hope this could be a turning point for the club moving forward.

“It was very important for us,” said Villa, who provided the assist on Shelton’s goal. “Before the game, we wanted to get points, but we also wanted to regain positive feelings… We needed this.’’

Comments

  1. Nice win. Kreis has lost locker room hopefully he can fix things. Kreis and villa dont get along but maybe when lampard arrives they improve.

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  2. You’re right but remember NYC plays in the east, not the west conference ( west conference is a massacre) and they are representing NY more than red bull and they can’t let their fans down.
    NYC needs a 3rd dp this season no matter what, in order to keep their fans happy, keep the blue blood running around the boroughs and look better than red bull.
    We can’t forget, nycfc I has the money, the big winner mentality and want to rule New York and their coach knows how to win in MLS and I repeat, it’s the east conference. If NYC can get their defense straight, and Lampard fixes mix and villa stays healthy and let’s say their 3rd DP is tevez, then they have a big chance.
    Remember, Villa needs a partner that can speak Spanish, it’s a big factor, him and tevez would make MLS defenses look like kids and Lampard with mix, would make things even more interesting. Things would get even better is mexicos Javier would partner with villa, that would be crazy.

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  3. Nyc really need to use their 3rd dp spot, they need another forward or a defender and ill be surprised nyc wont try to get mexicos Javier.
    Right now Javier is depressed and wil be a free agent, nyc will be perfect for him and no, he won t get a big European contract.
    If not just go for tevez or some mancity free agent.
    By the way, mix sucks and looks breakable at every game and someone cut his hair. Its annoying how he worries about his hair 24/7.

    Reply
    • Not sure I can really agree that another attacking DP is the answer. When a team is failing to control games the way NYCFC has during their dark spell, it’s usually because they are weak in the heart of the formation. Another out-and-out striker like Chicharito or Tevez simply won’t help them in possession, which is where they have suffered.

      Ideally, they’d find a CDM of DP quality to plug in…. admittedly, the market for these is quite bare (it often is) and it may turn out that Lampard really is their best hope, even if he appears to be far more valuable going forward these days. If he can form a tandem with Mix that at least allows NYC to pass the ball around a bit more, then maybe they can move forward.

      I think this season is probably a write-off, but i I were them I’d hold off on tying up the last DP, if only to be sure they know what they are doing for next year. This team needs an identity first.

      Reply

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