NYCFC’s Fan Appreciation Day was nothing close to the “win for the fans” the Blues wanted. Once again, New York City FC proves they cannot win a big game.
By Jeff Weisinger
Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium was near perfectly fitting ending to the disappointing inaugural season that was.
From the very beginning of the day which saw one jumper from the Black Knights parachuting team crash hard into the Yankee Stadium pitch and the other completely miss the Stadium altogether, to the Blues backline collapsing in just the second minute allowing for Lee Nguyen’s opening goal, NYCFC’s overall effort seemed like a big slap in the face to the supporters, let alone the team themselves. If NYCFC wanted to show the Big Apple and those watching on YES Network how “done” they were with the season, they achieved that – going 10-17-7 in the process.
“It is disappointing,” goalkeeper Josh Saunders, one of the few positive stories with NYCFC, said afterwards.
“Any loss is always disappointing, and it’s tough on Fan Appreciation night to walk away without a win.”
The Blues showed glimpses of possibly equalizing and showing what they could do in the attack going into the 2016 campaign and beyond. Tommy McNamara missed a shot right in front of the net wide, Chris Wingert missed on a header and Frank Lampard hit the post on a goal he should’ve easily walked in on. The chances, were there. The ability to finish wasn’t – much fitting to the Blues season-ending six-match skid where they won the first three to stay alive, then lost the last three to end the year.
Their inability to finish resulted in a goal by Charlie Davies in the 38th minute, putting the Revs up 2-0.
New England sealed their win in the second half on, fittingly, a header by Kalyn Rowe off of a corner kick by Chris Tierney to push the Revs lead to 3-0 with just over 30 minutes left. NYCFC was one of the worst teams on set-pieces this season.
At least NYC’s season finale didn’t end in a 3-0 shutout. The Blues earned a penalty kick off of a handball inside the box at the 90th minute and captain David Villa drilled the penalty kick into the back corner of the net, drawing a huge cheer from Yankee Stadium.
Despite scoring the first and last goals at Yankee Stadium this season, Villa was not too thrilled about the season overall and was not afraid to talk about it in the locker room after the match. When asked to describe what he thought of the inaugural season, he said it easily in one word: “bad.”
“We have not achieved our objective,” he explained. “Our efforts have been a waste. Let’s hope next season is better.
“I’m speaking of the sporting aspect. Outside of the sporting aspect, the club has been fantastic. The growth of the club has been marvelous. Everything besides the sporting aspect has been positive. My previous response was in regards to the sporting aspect because everything else has been fantastic.”
Everything else for the Blues have been fantastic – the advertising, the big name signings, the jersey sales, attendance – the only thing that wasn’t fantastic, or to par, was the performance on the pitch.
NYCFC had several chances all season to notch key wins to either get themselves above the red-line into the playoff race, or right back into the chase for the sixth and final playoff spot. They failed to capitalize on each and every one of those. Their biggest win of the season was their “Historic Home Opener” against the Revs.
After the match both David Villa and Frank Lampard gave their rendition of Tim Tebow’s infamous speech where he vowed he would work harder than everyone and so on. Then again, what are you supposed to say after ending a disappointing season with a disappointing performance after you vowed a win to the fans?
NYCFC learned a lot this season, there’s no question. Going forward this could be, if they don’t make mass changes across the board, one of the premiere franchises in MLS. But this year they proved to be just another expansion team that had a lot of hype, a lot of bark, but not enough bite.
All quotes and info acquired firsthand by Jeff Weisinger.
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