New York City FC’s solid performance in their opening day defeat to Orlando should instill confidence about the rematch this Sunday.
- New York City FC (3-1-2, 10 pts)
- Orlando City (4-0-1, 12 pts)
- MLS, Sun., Apr. 23, 1:30 p.m. ET
- Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Despite their defeat to Orlando City on opening day, NYCFC’s performance was a far better representation of future matches than the result was. The New York side dominated much of this game and held the ball in Orlando’s half of the pitch for significant portions. They maintained over 70 percent possession of the ball and managed twice as many shots as their opponents.
The result did not do the flow of play justice that day.
The 1-0 defeat raised little concerns, as NYC were the dominant side and performed well. Performance generally is the focus during the early weeks of the season, as it demonstrates a team’s ability and more often than not corresponds to results throughout the course of the season.
NYCFC didn’t have to wait too long for a strong performance to result in a victory and three points. The following weekend, they swept D.C United aside as they won 4-0 and earned a respectable 1-1 draw at home to Montreal before they overcame an early deficit to defeat San Jose 2-1. Though to varying degrees, NYCFC were superior in these matches. Three strong performances after their opening match rewarded them with seven points from a possible nine.
Patrick Viera’s side then fell to D.C United on the road, but were unfortunate to leave empty handed and could well have added a second goal to equalize after Villa halved D.C’s two-goal lead with a goal of his own.
Yet, confidence was still at a respectable level and the loss hardly reduced the moral among NYC and its supporters. The notion of performance is quite present in the early stages of the campaign. They played well, and though they lost on that occasion, will likely earn points with displays of similar quality in future matches, as they did the next weekend when they overcame the Philadelphia Union and won 2-0 to collect their first win away from Yankee Stadium.
Orlando’s result against NYC in their first clash of the season does not imply nearly as much as NYC’s superiority throughout their matches. Jason Kreis may have led his side to victory over his former employers on the first day of the season, but NYC’s similar approach to their following matches has been similar and yielded victories.
However, the boys in blue must be clinical in front of goal if they are to take anything away from their clash with Orlando this weekend. Their lack of creativity and poor finishing in the final third has undermined the impact of their dominance in several instances, including in their loss at the Florida-based club.
Orlando sit two points ahead of NYCFC and have even played a game less, for this very reason. They have not been excellent, but converted their possession of the ball into opportunities and goals. NYC FC would likely be higher up the table had they been able to do so themselves.
However, in the regular season, consistency of strong performances will place a team high up the table. The score may lie after one game, but the standings very rarely lie come the end of the season. For that reason, NYC’s few failures to record victories despite superiority should be of little concern.
NYC were the better side when they took on Orlando in their first match. They took nothing away from that fixture, but should they perform as they have up until this point of the season, could well find themselves more successful this Sunday.