On Match Day 5, New York City FC faced Houston Dynamo FC for the first time since 2019. The Bronx side looked to extend their winning streak, and move up in the Eastern Conference. But the away woes haunted the team, as it has for the last couple of seasons.
Hence, NYCFC had a touch challenge when facing Houston, especially with Héctor Herrera leading the midfield for the Texan team. They have only won once so far, but that was the previous weekend’s game, and Herrera scored to help defeat Austin FC. The Pigeons knew he was one of the players they would have to hinder on the pitch in order to have a chance with grabbing any points.
Unfortunately, a penalty kick was the difference in the game, for NYCFC fell to Houston, 1-0. The Bronx side had a lackluster performance, and it was messy at times. Many players moved out of their positions at inopportune times, and often the team lacked urgency in their play.
Offensively, the Pigeons were horrendously awful. In the second half, they had more offensive possession, but the attempts to score were not there or poorly taken. The players had just five shots, with one on target.
New York City FC falls to Houston in lackluster match
Lineup wise, James Sands got the start as a center-back for New York City FC since Maxime Chanot was away on international duty. He might have struggled in the position in Scotland, but he had a strong performance against Houston. He defended well, but also continued to act as the intervening fiend that he is toward opposing teams. If a play or pass was broken up, then likely Sands was the reason. Then, Alfredo Morales replaced him in the midfield.
Plus, Richard Ledezma made his debut. He came on as a substitute in the 68th minute, and had an okay first game, which was expected. He played mostly in the central midfield, and had a few positive moments, including when he took a couple of corner kicks toward the end of the match.
Meanwhile, Thiago Martins was the captain since Chanot was away. From the TV, it was hard to see how he did with the leadership role, but he had a decent game. His marking was much better compared to last week, and it seemed he and Sands were on the same page. In fact, the entire defense played well, for there was nothing they could do with the goal from the Dynamo.
In the 55th minute, Houston scored due to a penalty kick given up by Tayvon Gray. For many, especially NYCFC supporters, it was controversial, for it was a soft touch on Herrera. Alas, contact was made, so it is easy to see why it was given, even if Houston’s star did act a little. However, the added controversy to the moment was that VAR led to the decision. It was questionable about whether there was enough to overturn the initial no-call.
Nonetheless, Amine Bassi took the penalty kick in the 55th minute, and scored for Houston. In the end, that was all that was needed. It did not help that the Pigeons played poorly, and only had their first shot on target in stoppage time thanks to Gray.
As mentioned, NYCFC had more attacking possession in the second half, but they lacked the threat that was needed to score. Thankfully, the home side was not at their best either, and a strong NYCFC defense kept the score at 1-0.
No matter what, it is another road loss, and another poor performance away from home. New York City FC must figure out how to win and grab points away from home, especially because they have another away fixture next week against the New England Revolution. Luckily, it is early in the season, and there is time to fix the struggles on the road.