On Saturday, New York City FC traveled to Florida to face Inter Miami CF for the second time this season. A few weeks ago, the Bronx side won their home match against Miami, 2-0, and have actually beaten them in all five previous meetings.
Meanwhile, going into the fixture, the Pigeons only had one point from their three-game road trip. As such, the hunger for all three points was evident amongst the team. They almost had at least a point last weekend, but mistakes led to a rough loss against the Columbus Crew, and it even saw Alexander Callens suffer a MCL injury. While unavailable for this past weekend's fixture, the injury is not as bad as it looked, and the center-back should be available sooner, rather than later.
Nonetheless, this was a match the Pigeons could win. But a switch off, and then a horrendous giveaway later in the game, led NYCFC to lose, 3-2. This is the first time they have lost to Miami, and as a result, the road trip ended in a whimper.
It must be said this was a stronger performance compared to the previous weekend. NYCFC had the majority of the possession and led in shots. Sean Johnson had three saves on the night, and players like Malte Amundsen and Maxime Chanot performed well in the defense, of course with the exception of the goals. It was the mistakes though that led to their downfall… again.
New York City FC lost to Inter Miami because of a few mistakes
This was a game New York City FC should have won. Similar to Columbus, the Pigeons went up in front first in the 34th minute. Talles Magno, who started the match in the striker position, scored after Chanot headed the ball toward the Brazilian with the back of his head. This was off of a free kick, and since Chanot made contact with the ball, he officially has his first assist for NYCFC.
Then, after Miami tied it, the Bronx side took the lead for the second time in first half stoppage time after a thunderous strike from Thiago. It was mayhem in the box, for quite a few players made attempts to shoot. When the ball landed at Thiago’s feet, he immediately reacted and sent the ball flying past the goalkeeper.
However, it was the mistakes that caused the loss, and the first mistake was when the team switched off. In the 63rd minute, both teams had a player down, and the Pigeons tried to get their opponents to send the ball out. From the view of the television, it seemed numerous NYCFC players turned off their defensive engines, and this allowed Ariel Lassiter to draw Miami level.
Later on in the 84th minute, it was an individual mistake that led to the game winner for Miami. Alfredo Morales attempted to send the ball back to either a defender or Johnson, but instead Alejandro Pozuelo intercepted the ball right in front of goal. With no one in front of him, he put his side in front, and got his brace after scoring the first goal for Miami. Despite not being in Toronto, the midfielder continues to wreak havoc when facing the Pigeons.
Again, poor and silly mistakes is why NYCFC ends the road trip with only a point. The team could have gone home with four, but like their fellow Yankee Stadium resident as of late, they were unable to close out the game in Miami. But if the mistakes are excluded from the analysis of the fixture, then arguably they played well. They controlled the pace of play for most of the match, and led with 17 shots. Defensively, the defenders made most of the critical clearances and blocks, and few mistakes were made. Of course, all it takes is the few, and those few led NYCFC to lose.
Plus, Nick Cushing recognizes the team is playing well, but it is the mistakes that have recently hurt them. He told NYCFC.com the following:
"The third goal is tough to take because when you play so well and it goes 3-2 with five or six minutes to go emotions are going to run high. The team is sitting in a really good spot in the league. Of course, we've lost two games and we're really aware that we've lost two games with mistakes but I asked the team to play this way and we'll get back on the training pitch and we'll prepare for Charlotte FC."- Nick Cushing
Nevertheless, New York City FC has a chance to rebound when they return home for a mid-week match-up with Charlotte FC. It is still too early to panic, but the next few weeks will be crucial to see where the team truly stands, and whether they can be a threat going down the stretch toward the playoffs. Plus, everyone will see whether Cushing is the right man for the head coaching job, for it is still too early to decide whether that is the case.