The saying goes; cats have nine lives. But does this apply to Pigeons as well?
After flirting with another home loss, New York City FC was able to scrap a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. Still struggling to leave a contest with three points, the boys in blue have been winless in their last nine Major League Soccer outings, including this one.
Throughout this skid, NYCFC has played more games than they have scored goals. As such, frustration continuously builds for the club and the fanbase.
The Pigeons came out looking like they were about to reward the Yankee Stadium crowd with a win. The ball moved well as they played beautifully and made runs towards the goal. Talles Magno had two opportunities for two highlight-reel goals but failed to finish them. While the Crew also had their moments in the first half, the momentum was clearly with the home side coming into halftime.
NYCFC grabs a draw, but the winless streak extends
Nobody knows what, but something must have happened during the intermission that clouded Nick Cushing's make-shift backline as they stepped back out. Columbus' Christian Ramirez found himself open in front of Luis Barraza in the 48th minute and broke the deadlock--silencing the New York City crowd in the process.
Despite the goal, the head coach praised Justin Haak, James Sands, Tony Alfaro, and Tayvon Gray for their efforts.
"When you lose [Maxime] Chanot (international duties) and [Thiago] Martins (injury), you have to find solutions. I'm really pleased with the commitment and application in a short space of time. I'm frustrated with the goal-- it was far too easy."- Nick Cushing
NYCFC controlled 53% of possession and fired 13 shots with five on target. On the other hand, the visitors had nine shots, two hitting the frame.
The late-game heroics came from Gabriel Segal, who came in for Magno in the 73rd minute. Segal scored the equalizer in stoppage time (90+4) to give NYCFC another lifeline. He was happy to score, but not pleased with the result.
"Definitely a good feeling getting another goal. But obviously we wanna get wins, so it's not a fully happy moment. We'll take the point and move on to the next game."- Gabriel Segal
While Segal is not too joyous with the result, there can't be anyone happier about a draw than Cushing. The stalemate may not be the objective, but it gives him more breathing room than a suffocating loss. The outcry for his firing is still becoming louder with each game. However, Cushing remains optimistic and calls for fans to support the team while they struggle
"If that propels me to win MLS Cup, I'll take that all day. I think it's really important now that everyone gets behind this team. Support for a young developing team with real talent is really really important cos the guys are suffering. We have been a successful organization, we've consistently been there. And this team will be there, I fully believe in that. I think support and real energy could be the difference that we need."- Nick Cushing
It is hard to be optimistic in the middle of plate-shifting turbulence. Cushing's grace under pressure is commendable, but it is hard not to worry about him living too comfortably on the edge. Cushing leans on history to repeat itself, but the past can't solve the problems in the present.
New York City FC will embark on a three-game road trip with stops in Atlanta, Portland, and Montreal. They return home on July 5 to welcome Charlotte FC at Citi Field.