The New York City FC struggles unfortunately continued on Saturday evening. The team welcomed the Philadelphia Union to Queens, and for a little while it seemed everything was going their way, especially once Gabriel Pereira scored the opening goal.
Sadly, that was not the case, for Julián Carranza scored two goals during the first half stoppage time to put his side in front. In the end, the visitors never looked back, and ended up losing 3-1.
The hard part is that NYCFC was statistically the better team. They led in possession with 59.3%, and had quite a few attacking opportunities. They had 16 shots with seven on target, and spent quite a bit of time in the final third. The difference on the night was that Philadelphia was the stronger team defensively, for the Pigeons could not find more goals despite their attack.
As such, Nick Cushing expressed his disappointment with the loss, but expressed the difference from the game was due to small margins. He thought NYCFC had "control of the game" and said the difference was "the game swings".
Nick Cushing spoke about the NYCFC loss to the Philadelphia Union
In other words, it appears Cushing felt New York City FC's loss came down to those small moments of the game, but then again, many professional games can be due to the small mistakes or one great move by a team. Yet, he continued to double down on the small moments in his postgame interview.
"Half-time was trying to focus on the small moments when they have those attacks, and continue to put them under pressure and create chances – we were creating many chances, many moments… You get chances but the suckerpunch comes with the moments and the penalty."- Nick Cushing
The real question is how will Cushing lead NYCFC to limit these moments in a match that leads to the other team winning? How can he lead his team to respond when they are down by one or two goals? Admittedly, the fixture itself highlighted a team that has the ability to attack, but the inability to score was what hurt them in the end.
Then, Cushing expressed his thoughts on how this match allows them to learn.
"This team has to learn from these moments, individuals have to learn from these moments because that is how you become a team that is mature, that can be under pressure; that can retain leads. We’re going through that process. They’re really frustrated – you can see the frustration in there at half-time, and at the end of the game. It’s painful learning, but what I see following all of these difficult moments is a team that is really trying to work hard to learn and improve in these areas."- Nick Cushing
However, NYCFC does not seem to be learning from these small moments, for this is the fourth loss from their last five fixtures in Major League Soccer. It was thought the return to home would lead them to a possible win as well, for before Saturday, they earned 13 out of a possible 15 points from home. Alas, that was not to be, and the road woes that impacted them previously polluted Queens.
Cushing has to do better, both for the players, supporters, and himself. Many have called for his head and want him gone, but despite the rough stretch, more has to be seen to ensure he is not the right man to lead the Pigeons. But the game against the Union did not help. In addition, he is normally open and truthful with his comments. This time was not the case, for everyone is tired of hearing about the small moments and small mistakes.
The loss to Philadelphia, who has become another intense rival, is a difficult one to process. New York City FC has to be better, and Cushing has to figure out how to lead his side to winning ways. But enough about the small moments; it is time to go out there and win.