NYCFC's Shaky Defense Leads To Late Heroics Against FC Dallas
Vincent Carchietta, USATSI

Despite not being in control for most of the match, NYCFC tallies a late one to earn the tie against FC Dallas.

It was a roller coaster of a game at Yankee Stadium between league-leading FC Dallas and home side New York City Football Club. Staying true to the trend, NYCFC netted a late goal earning City one point in week 30 despite losing midfielder, and offensive force Frank Lampard to an injury midway through the match. Newly minted US Open Cup champions, FC Dallas demonstrated that despite a minimal respite between games their attack continues to have the potency to make shaky defenses pay.

Newly minted U.S. Open Cup champions, FC Dallas demonstrated that despite a minimal respite between games their attack continues to have the potency to make shaky defenses pay.

Both sides conceded their number of chances, however, NYCFC who are on the wrong side of the goal differential statistic, have proven yet again that they have the ability to give as good as they get. Take away a couple of lopsided defeats, and one could argue that City takes on a different and respectable statistical appearance. However, the main theme of the match would come to be how each team had their share of missed opportunities, and how NYC responded to their defensive

However, the main theme of the match would come to be how each team had their share of missed opportunities, and how NYC responded to their defensive woes.

With four games left in the season, it is safe to assume that little will change in terms of how these teams will execute gameplans come playoff time. As a result of the night’s draw, Dallas was able to become the first MLS team to clinch a spot in the 2016 MLS playoffs (First in Western Conference, 52 pts), while New York City will need at least two more points to cement their first trip to the postseason (third in Eastern Conference, 45pts).

Either side would have liked to come out with a victory, while neither side was willing to complain about the dropped points, as both sides seem to feel confident about their position going into week 31.

Showing vigor early, NYCFC was able to net the opening goal as their attack elegantly came together from the back paying dividends in the 8th-minute. Andrea Pirlo’s clearance off the line to Andoni Iraola was a beauty which freed up space for the attacking midfielder. With time and space, Iraola then guided a ball to a streaking Ronald Matarrita up the left flank who then managed a cross that went misplayed by Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman.

From there, rookie midfielder Jack Harrison controlled the gifted ball finding a wide open Tommy McNamara centered just outside the 6-yard box.

Demonstrating the consistency that he’s shown all season, and has endeared him to NYCFC fans, McNamara was able to strike the ball across his body leaving Dallas’ keeper Chris Seitz in no man’s land putting city up 1-0 in the 8th-minute.

NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira stated after the game that he was happy with the offensive production:

“I’m happy with the goals we scored, I think that when you play the way we want to play, opposition will create chances, but what is important and what I want from the team is to create more than we concede … ”

Although statistically dominant in possession throughout the match, New York City did not make it easy on themselves seeing an early one goal lead slip through their fingers. The U.S. Open Cup Champions would not be so easily dispatched as their high press came up big later on in the first half. New York City’s back line displayed their hesitation on the ball as the pressure of Dallas’ Maximiliano Urriti and Mauro Rosales proved too much to preserve a clean sheet for the home side in the 20th minute.

The number of miscues and amount of apprehension by NYC’s collective defense as a result of the press drew frustration and jeers from the home crowd of 25,204. Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja spoke positively of his team’s performance:

“Our players tonight just gave another great performance… it was a good game playing as well as we did in the first half [and then the pressure in the second half] I thought it was outstanding what our players did.”

At the end of the first Half with the game tied 1-1 NYC continued to control the game, however, the issues on defense would lead to another goal conceded, this time in the 52nd minute.

In one of the most atrocious defensive displays I’ve seen from New York City this season, Dallas was able to go ahead on a slow developing give and go play that resulted in two of Dallas’s attacking players going completely unmarked just outside the 6-yard box.

NYCFC’s Jack Harrison commented on the defense when asked about the midfielder’s role in aiding the back line:

“I think it’s always tough cause you never know how a team is going to come out, and defend against you, so we try to prepare the best we could. I think it was a little different to what we expected, but to be honest I think that with what we had they [the defense] did a good job. They were there, we just struggled with the press, they [Dallas] pressed very well, they’re a good side and we knew that, it was tough for us to play tonight.”

With no off-sides flags to save them on the second goal, it seemed that New York City would fade as frustrations mounted. However, momentum shifted as the home crowd managed to will their team to a comeback. The second half evolved into a shooting gallery as set pieces for both sides and a number of near misses resulted in oooh’s and ahh’s at the end of every play. As the match moved into the waning minutes that New York City seemed to have the upper hand.

City’s youth stepped up big time displaying how truly invaluable they are to the team. The combination of Jack Harrison and late sub Khiry Shelton lead to the tying goal. Harrison, after receiving the ball near midfield, was able to move into space and bend in a cross that was truly spectacular in finding a streaking Shelton who powered a header into the back of the net. Head Coach Patrick Vieira depicted as much during the

Head Coach Patrick Vieira depicted as much during the post-game:

“They are quite important players for us, if you look at the game tonight, Jack had it really tough… He played against a very experienced player, who’s really tough and really strong, I think… Jack learned a lot today and that is the way he improves upon himself… they will need to improve every day … ”

Ultimately, Saturday night’s game was a quintessential New York City FC game. The “boys in blue” played well throughout the night, but once again paid dearly for their mistakes.

City relied on the offense to salvage a point while leaving many including some in the locker room with the overall feeling that City could have earned more. With the injury to Frank Lampard removing a large part of their offensive arsenal, fans can only hope that the team’s general apathy to the number of goals conceded will turn into willful resistance against opposing offense to compensate for the loss.

NYCFC look to solidify a playoff spot against the Chicago Fire at home this Saturday, September 23, with a victory.

Stay connected to Elite Sports NY to see a preview of the upcoming match that places New York City Football Club against a Chicago Fire team that has a history of showing up and causing problems when being labeled as heavy underdogs.

Kickoff will come at 8 p.m. ET, available on UniMas, WFAN (Online), WFAN, and WQBU.


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