NYCFC can no longer take pride in a positive performance as they head into massive fixtures with Chicago and Toronto.
NYCFC were unfortunate not to claim a victory against Toronto as they were denied in the final seconds of the match by a Victor Vasquez penalty. They instead settled for a tie, their fourth of the season.
The result may not derail NYCFC’s campaign for top spot by much, but the margin for error is incredibly slim in upcoming matches.
For the second time in two games, Vieira’s men dropped points late in the match. Had the score in the last ten minutes of each match stood, NYC would be only two points behind Wednesday’s opponents, and in position to leapfrog Chicago with a victory on Saturday.
Sitting at 10-6-4 on the season, NYCFC sits four points behind the Chicago Fire and three points behind Eastern Conference-leading Toronto.
This month has and will continue to be a test of NYC’s credentials, and at the moment, despite a solid performances in Canada and the Bronx, they have earned just one point from a possible six. NYC have performed well throughout their campaign and as such, sit third. However, decisive moments of the season, such as their fixtures with Toronto and Chicago, separate third-place finishes from table toppers.
NYC have their failure to finish off matches and lack of concentration and focus to blame for the fair bit of distance between them and the Canadians.
NYC still have the opportunity to salvage quite a bit from this month with what would be considered massive victories in their next two fixtures. A victory over Toronto would have been a fair result of their performance and the run of play. The Yankee Stadium inhabitants have reason to believe that they can return to the Bronx with all three points.
Lose to Chicago, or fail to claim one win in their next two fixtures, and NYC would have a mountain to climb if they are to find themselves finishing atop the Eastern Conference. Just under half a season remains, so there is time for the tide to turn. However, a playoff position would easily be the most realistic target at that point.
In order to remain in the running for a first-place finish, results are key. Performances can yield contention for success but the ability to grind out results when it matters can decide a season.
All eyes are on NYCFC’s next two fixtures. Strong performances alone no longer cut it. Now is the time to get results and make moves to get that playoff spot.