Takeaways From NYCFC's 2-1 Loss to D.C. United (Highlights)
Apr 8, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; D.C. United midfielder Luciano Acosta (10) and New York City FC midfielder Jack Harrison (11) battle for the ball in the second half at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. United won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now 2-1-2 on the season after their 2-1 loss to D.C. United, we break down exactly what happened from an NYCFC perspective.

New York City Football Club suffered their second loss of the 2017 season Saturday, falling 2-1 to D.C. United on the road. It was retribution for their Eastern Conference rivals, who fell 4-0 at Yankee Stadium three weeks ago.

NYCFC fell 2-0 behind in the second half, and a late consolation from David Villa wasn’t enough, as NYCFC failed to collect their first road win. Here are three takeaways from the match.

Two Weeks, Three Defensive Head-Scratchers

Against San Jose, NYCFC were static on defense when they conceded the first against the Earthquakes. Against D.C. United, both goals conceded were entirely preventable. Maxime Chanot and Frederic Brillant miscommunicated in front of the goal with an onrushing Lloyd Sam, who collected the loose ball and slapped it past Sean Johnson. Neither defender was able to take the initiative and clear the ball, leaving fans scratching their heads. These kinds of defensive errors have been NYCFC’s achilles heel since their introduction to MLS two years ago.

The second goal was just as frustrating. Sam’s shot on the edge of the box was well saved by Johnson, but Luciano Acosta outmuscled both NYCFC center backs to poke the ball in. It seemed as though Acosta simply wanted it more.

It’s frustrating to lose on the road against a rival. It’s even more frustrating when both goals conceded were completely preventable.

NYCFC Must Improve on the Road

Two away games, two losses for NYCFC, who have not yet found a way to procure a point on the road. They were clearly the better side in the season opener against Orlando, and had their fair share of chances against DC United.

It isn’t like NYCFC were run out of the building — they had 66 percent possession, had just as many shots on target (6) as their opponents, and had a higher pass accuracy and arial duel percentage. At the end of the day, Patrick Vieira’s boys simply weren’t clinical, an issue that was even more apparent when they were held off the score sheet by Orlando City.

NYCFC will have a chance to redeem their poor road form when they visit Philadelphia Union next weekend, but until then, they must dwell on their lack of finishing on the road.

NYCFC Have Little Margin of Error Moving Forward

The Blues are off to a solid start, collecting seven points in their first five matches. However, their next run of games is brutal: away at rivals Philadelphia Union might be their easiest matchup, but nothing is guaranteed on the road.

Afterward, they host rivals Orlando City, who have already beaten NYCFC this season, before playing three of the hottest teams in MLS: Columbus Crew and Atlanta United, who are currently the two top teams in the East, and defending Supporters Shield winners FC Dallas.

NYCFC have been mediocre in the opening few matches, and despite flashes of quality, have yet to truly establish themselves as contenders. A strong showing over the next few weeks could go a long way in proving this teams title credentials.

Staff Writer at Elite Sports New York. Lead Writer at New York Sports Hub and My Weekly Sports. Twitter, instagram: @skylardarel. Avid fan of the Yankees, Knicks, Giants, New York City FC, FC Barcelona, and Arsenal FC. Sophomore at the College of New Jersey, studying Communication. Aspiring play-by-play commentator. Grew up in Manhattan, and proud to know how to work the Subway system.