New York City FC traveled to the North this weekend to face a familiar opponent, the New England Revolution. They looked to bounce back after a disaster of a performance in Houston, and hoped with the return of Maxime Chanot in the backline, and then moving James Sands back into the midfield, they would have a better game.
Additionally, NYCFC made a surprising move by putting Gabriel Segal into the Starting XI. This allowed Talles Magno to move to the wings, and then Gabriel Pereira was unfortunately the odd man out. Still, it was nice to see Segal get his first start in Major League Soccer, and it was good for Nick Cushing to give him that chance. He did have a goal scoring opportunity during the game, but in the end, his first start was not memorable.
Historically, the home team had the edge over the Pigeons, especially at Gillette Stadium. There was also the expectation of the team losing on the road, for the road woes haunt the Bronx side. As such, the result was welcoming.
NYCFC drew the Revolution, 1-1. Both teams scored in the second half, and presented an action packed, back and forth fixture that was fun to watch.
New York City FC fights back to earn 1-1 draw
New York City FC performed the best in the first half, with the exception of the goal, but there were positives throughout the match. The first half was superb, for the Pigeons dominated the pace of play and possession. But the second half revealed the resilience of the players.
NYCFC went down a goal first thanks to the New England Revolution. Unfortunately, a poor giveaway by Sands allowed New England to counter in their attacking third. This led Carles Gil to take his chance, and he put the ball away with smooth precision in the 70th minute, making it impossible for Luis Barraza to make the save.
However, the team did not back down, and kept on attacking. They had multiple opportunities, especially from corner kicks. As a result, NYCFC leveled the match ten minutes later.
Pereira, who came on as a substitute, sent the ball into the box off of a corner kick in the 80th minute. Magno made himself big in the box, and met the ball with a jumping and accurate header. The Brazilian forward sent the ball into the back of the net, and the rest is history. The team was able to leave with a point, and in all honesty, they performed strongly compared to other times they were away from home.
New York City FC draw revealed some positives
There were some positive signs for New York City FC during the game, and part of the reason was thanks to Chanot. His return was welcoming early on, for within the first ten minutes he had a vital tackle to put the ball out of play, and then a clearance to keep New England from taking a shot at goal. Throughout the 90 minutes plus stoppage time, the center-back led the defense and kept things calm and composed, even during worrisome moments.
It needs to be said that without Sands' giveaway, Gil likely would not have scored, and perhaps the team would have left with all three points. But Chanot's presence and abilities allowed for a great defensive performance.
Compared to last week’s fixture, the Pigeons were still night and day, for there was more energy, better chances in the attack, and their passing was more precise. The match saw an increase of confidence as well, especially with Magno, for he was mostly on the wings. In fact, he consistently switched from the left to right side, especially in the first half. If he was not on the wings and in the central attack, the pressure was off, for Segal was the main man up front. This alludes that the best way to utilize Magno is allow him freedom up top, and not keep him as a center-forward the entire time.
As mentioned, the offensive effort was also a much needed improvement. NYCFC had 14 shots, with three on target. Players took their shots, and moved into final third with ease. The main critique would be that there were too many giveaways in and near the box, and poorest passing occurred when the Pigeons were trying to create a shooting opportunity. Then, they struggled with putting the ball on target, for it was not until later on that they improved with that.
So, while attacking third was better, there were still issues. With an increase of accuracy into the box, NYCFC can without a doubt increase the chances on target. In fact, one can only wonder whether there would be more than the Magno goal if that was the case.
Alas, any improvement is welcoming. Even better, the team now has a three game home stint, with one fixture at Yankee Stadium, and the other two at Citi Field. They always play their best football at home, so hopefully they can start another winning streak.
Nevertheless, New York City FC has another tough challenge ahead, for they welcome Atlanta United FC next weekend. But hopefully the comeback draw against New England will be the boost of confidence that leads to a climb up the Eastern Conference table.