Where does a team go a week after losing to their rival 7-0?
I can still see the meme in my head after the score went to 5-0. It was the “stop it, he’s already dead” meme. This one would’ve been of NYCFC keeper Josh Saunders laid out on the ground just under his crossbar looking like a boxer who got knocked the (bleep) out.
But for a second, let’s forget that New York City Football Club lost a game 7-0 to the Red Bulls, at Yankee Stadium, on national television, in front of their home crowd of just under 40,000.
Now, let’s focus on their next opponent, Orlando City SC, a side that beat a then-struggling NYCFC side 1-0 on an early goal by Cyle Larin as Saunders overplayed a cross from Rafael Ramos, who chipped it over Saunders’ head and found Larin for the simple goal.
At the time, NYCFC outshot the Lions 16-10 (6-5 on goal) and had miss, after miss, after miss.
Although that seems like so long ago, the case remains the same for an NYCFC side that couldn’t get anything going at all against the Red Bulls just a week ago.
Maybe that’s an understatement; NYCFC couldn’t just not get anything going, the Blues seemed so far inept to playing soccer last Saturday that Yankee Stadium would’ve been better off showing the FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Crystal Palace on the big screen in center field and letting everyone go home afterward.
Either that or a baseball game.
But forget for a second (again) the embarrassing loss to the Red Bulls – a match of which will forever live in infamy – and focus on what should be the apparent task at hand.
Going into Sunday’s match, NYCFC needs a win. A win especially at home.
— Mikey Lopez (@MLopez12_5) May 22, 2016
This team has been simply terrible at Yankee Stadium that we’re re-starting the talks of pitch size in the Bronx – the field of which is the smallest in MLS, or possibly all of major professional soccer around the world.
NYCFC currently sits in second place in the Eastern Conference table (4-4-5; 17 pts.), however their play, or lack thereof, at home could hold them out of the playoffs for the second year in as many that the team’s existed.
The Blues are just 1-2-4 at home this season so far, the lone win coming against the Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-2 back on April 30.
Of the 52 teams to make the playoffs since the league moved to a 34-game schedule in 2011, only the 2011 Colorado Rapids and the 2014 Sporting Kansas City teams have made the playoffs winning less than seven games at home. For what it’s worth, neither team made it to the MLS Cup Final that year, however they both won the title the year before (Colorado 2010, SKC 2013).
NYCFC still has 10 games left in the Bronx. They will need at least seven more wins at home to have a legitimate shot at a postseason berth. As we’ve seen so far, that seems less realistic than the NYC Subways running properly during rush hour, or as less realistic than a subway commute where nobody begs for money.
But even with all of that in play, more than anything, NYCFC needs to show the supporters and the country that they have some sort of heartbeat after being demolished by their hated New Jersey rivals. They need to show that they can fight back and who better to do it against than their expansion classmate, Orlando City. The club’s lone win against OCSC came in their second matchup back on July 24th last year when they won 5-3 on Andrea Pirlo’s debut.
Sunday marks their second meeting of the season. Take that for what you will.
New head coach Patrick Vieira said that he wants the club to reflect the city that they play in.
So far, especially in the city they play in, they haven’t come close.
Vieira said that he wants them to play “beautiful football.” Nobody has yet to see that as well.
NYCFC did come into the Hudson Derby from a long road trip – the match against the Red Bulls was their third in a seven-day span – so maybe the week off will help them recover both physically and mentally.
It’ll also give them time to adjust, because whatever game-plan Vieira has just doesn’t work at Yankee Stadium. While he has the personnel to deploy a 4-3-3 formation, he simply doesn’t have the space, which is why they’re more successful on the road (3-1-2) than in the Bronx.
Sunday is a huge day for the club. It’s a chance at some sort of redemption. A chance to show everyone that the week before was a fluke and that the five-game undefeated streak prior to the Derby was legit.
Like I’ve said, they need to show they have a fight in them. They need to show they have a pulse.
They need to not lose 7-0 again . . . ever.