On Saturday, New York City FC welcomed the New England Revolution to Yankee Stadium. It was expected to be another hard battle, and the pressure was immense for the Pigeons. They lost their first two of three home games in a row, and the supporters were growing impatient with every loss. Winning was the only option.
Moreover, the Pigeons were already down another player with the loss of Tayvon Gray. A few hours before the game, it was announced the defender was under investigation due to language used during the FC Cincinnati match. Therefore, he was suspended. That led to some concerns with the defense, for Thiago Martins is still out due to injury.
However, while Luis Barraza grabbed a clean sheet, a win was not possible. Unfortunately, 90 minutes was not enough, for NYCFC drew the Revolution, 0-0. It was another tough game, but there was plenty of attacking plays despite the lack of goals.
Like every match, there is a lot to unpack. So, let’s look at three things that we learned from this Eastern Conference battle.
Three things learned from NYCFC’s 0-0 draw
1. Richard Ledezma is growing game by game for NYCFC
When Richard Ledezma was brought over to New York City FC on loan, there was some excitement by the fan base. There was no guarantee the midfielder would develop into a star, but his known potential, and the need for players, made his move worth it.
As the season has gone on, Ledezma has grown into the team, game by game. This was especially seen in the fixture against New England. For starters, 72.4% of his passes were successful, which is low compared to his fellow players. But it was the passes and when he made them that truly counted. He set up his teammates throughout his time on the pitch, including that incredible falling pass to Gabriel Pereira in the first half. The Brazilian then had a fantastic chance, but unfortunately it was saved.
He even had a superb shot from close to the midfield in the first half. The ball ended up hitting the post, but if it did not, then that would have been a goal.
Ledezma also spent some time up front and center, but he often found himself in the midfield, especially during defensive moments. His versatility in the attacking third gives Nick Cushing different lineups to work with, and as each match takes place, he gets better and better. Soon, the American might be one of those players that must be in the Starting XI every time.
2. NYCFC had everything but the goals
When all is said and done, NYCFC played very well against the Revolution. The team led with 54.5% possession, which is not surprising since they do tend to lead in that statistic in most fixtures. The passing was precise and well thought out, which is why there were so many opportunities for the Pigeons.
In total, NYCFC had 17 shots, with five on target. Pereira led the team in shots with six. They spent quite a bit of time in the final third, and was the better side compared to the Revolution.
It was a great 90 minutes, but the Bronx team just could not score. This was a fixture they should have scored in, but nobody could capitalize. Đorđe Petrović was a huge reason why, for he made saves that others around the league likely would have not made.
And of course, the lack of a striker is a main reason why. The team needs a number nine desperately, and this was another moment where it was clear as day.
3. Another day, another bad refereeing decision for NYCFC
New York City FC is going down defenders one by one. Martins is injured, Gray is suspended for an unknown amount of time, and Maxime Chanot will miss the next game due to yellow card accumulation.
But now, Braian Cufré will miss next week as well, for the left-back received a red card in stoppage time with a few minutes to go. This was a controversial decision, for there was no malicious intent with the Argentine’s tackle, and he made contact with the ball. The referee was even told to go to VAR, indicating he should take a look at his decision. Yet, the call stood.
Even Taylor Twellman, who was the color commentator, was shocked, and he thought the card should have been a yellow. It was another controversial call, and a poor one. Yes, the refereeing was a million times better compared to Wednesday, but this leaves a sour taste after a decent game.
New York City FC is in a rough position now. They go on the road again next week, and will be without quite a few of their defenders. The recent results do not reflect their play, and it is a shame the match not only ended with a red card, but a 0-0 draw.