New York City FC’s struggles in attack seem to be fading after they netted three goals in two successive matches.
New York City defeated Atlanta 3-1 at Yankee Stadium to claim consecutive victories for the first time this year. Arguably their best performance of the year, the Bronx side dominated their opponents and their recent performances have indicated improvement over the past couple of weeks.
The mood was already positive ahead of Sunday. NYCFC came off the back of an impressive 3-2 victory over Columbus, despite David Villa’s absence, before the club announced the extension of the captain’s contract that will see him remain with the club throughout the 2018 MLS season.
If the victory at Columbus sparked a sense of relief, an excellent performance the following weekend must surely yield confidence in the dressing room. Prior to their match at the Mapfre, the New Yorkers had failed to score over two goals in more than one game, and fell at home for the first time this season the previous week.
As was the story against Orlando at Yankee Stadium, the Boys in Blue failed to create many chances against their opponents throughout the season, even with an abundance of possession and constant positioning in advanced areas of the pitch. Their struggle in the attack had cost them points on a variety of occasions and while they were quite productive in the final third at Columbus, one impressive attacking display would simply not be strong enough a statement.
However, two successive performances of such quality perhaps signals improvement. Patrick Vieira’s men bossed their clash with Atlanta from start to finish, and were unfortunate to even concede.
After three goals in two successive matches, NYCFC’s attack is finally looking to seriously threaten opponents. They broke Atlanta’s defense down with ease on Sunday afternoon and could have easily tallied more goals had greater accuracy accompanied their efforts at goal. After they failed to convince high up the pitch at the start of the season, they recently seemed to have burst to life when in attacking areas.
The record of their opponents also supplements the sense of improvement over the last few games, as well as the claim that this squad has the ability to compete at the top.
Columbus had not lost at home before their fixture with NYCFC, claiming thirteen points from a possible fifteen. Any victory at the Mapfre is some result.
Meanwhile, NYCFC did well to stifle Atlanta’s attack, which on paper is currently the strongest in the Eastern Conference.
Defensively, the Yankee Stadium club look quite formidable. Many of their opponent’s have struggled to find a way past their defensive set up while they have not yet conceded more than twice in a match. On only three occasions has a rival put more than one goal past them.
Their current position is primarily because their strong defense had covered for dull attacking displays prior to the previous two games.
Although they have already been impressive at the back, their performance against Atlanta confirms the quality of their defense. Despite Atlanta’s status as the top scorers in the Eastern Conference, NYC afforded them no clear-cut chances other than the one that resulted in the visitor’s only goal of the game. Atlanta’s struggle to unlock the defense of the Boys in Blue is a real implication that the New Yorker’s defense can become an immense obstacle to any side in the league.
In their opening match at Orlando, NYC’s dominated, but their inability to convert this superiority into goal scoring opportunities saw them drop three points. In future weeks, the story was similar as they squandered more points even despite respectable performances.
Their difficulty in the attacking third was non existent in the Bronx side’s last two fixtures. Should NYCFC thrive in attack as they did against Columbus and Atlanta, they will have a real shot at an enjoyable campaign.