On Wednesday, New York City FC welcomed FC Cincinnati to the Bronx for the second overall meeting of the year. Last month in the U.S. Open Cup, the Orange and Blue won for the first time ever against the Pigeons, and it seems like they are an unbeatable team. The home side knew they had a lot of work to do in order to grab any points, regardless of their strong record at Yankee Stadium.
Therefore, it was not shocking that NYCFC fell to Cincinnati, 3-1. There were moments of good play, but the goals given up are why the Pigeons sit so close to the bottom of the table.
Unfortunately, the players gave up the first goal after a stunner from Luciano Acosta in the first half, and then a free kick and a penalty in the second saw the away side grab three goals against the city blue boys from the Bronx.
A lot happened during this match, but here are three things we learned from New York City FC’s game against Cincinnati.
Three things from the NYCFC match against FC Cincinnati
1. NYCFC was lucky to not go down a man in the first half
In the first half, New York City FC and FC Cincinnati had a bit of a scuffle. Keaton Parks was not happy with the recent goal scorer, Acosta, and quite a few players got heated and in each other’s faces.
Yet, Braian Cufré took things a little too far, for he leaned into Yerson Mosquera, their heads touched, and then he harshly pushed the center-back down to the ground. There was no doubt malicious intent was there, and it was a mistake the Argentine should have never made.
At first, he was given a yellow, and fans waited nervously as VAR reviewed the play. With all intents and purposes, it looked like a red card infraction. In fact, Cufré deserved the red. But, it never came, and the call remained.
Hence, NYCFC was extremely lucky they did not go down a man after going down a goal. Truthfully, the call should have changed, but it was not surprising, for the referee had been terrible most of the game. He had quite a few poor calls, and some bad no calls as well. But this was one example that illuminated the poor refereeing, and thankfully it aided the Pigeons, for they did not lose their left-back. Although, it did not matter in the end, for a loss is still a loss.
2. Stephen Turnbull had a decent first start for NYCFC
Stephen Turnbull, who started the season with NYCFC II, received his first start with New York City FC. Injuries and a change of tactics had the defender start as a right-wing-back, and he had some promising moments. Defensively, he was solid, with the exception of the chain of events that led to the Acosta goal. Then, there was nothing that could be done with the free kick goal and penalty kick goal. Still, he intervened at times, getting the ball away from Cincinnati or clearing it out of danger. He had no issue marking opposing players on the ride side too.
Offensively, he was a breath of fresh air. He had a good understanding with Gabriel Pereira, and both were aware of each other and the runs. He had a good amount of crosses into the box, and aided with moving the ball down the right side of the pitch. It would be nice to see him get a few more starts, including as a center-back. Turnbull might be the versatile backup answer for NYCFC, and it will be interesting to see how he does throughout the year.
3. Gabriel Pereira continues to be the bright light for NYCFC
NYCFC has lost their fifth Major League Soccer match out of their last six. Even when they appear to play well, they always find a way to give up goals.
However, Pereira has been a bright light during these dark times. He has been the best player on the pitch, for he is a consistent attacking threat. His ability to break ankles and maneuver around the opposition is always a plus, and the Brazilian moves up the right side with pace and ease. This allows him to get the ball to his teammates, which is why he has three assists on the year.
He also scores goals. Of course, he does not score like a striker, for he has just four this season so far. But he scores, and that is something NYCFC is lacking. He almost had his fifth goal during the Cincinnati fixture, but it was called off due to a questionable foul in the box.
Pereira has been the bright light for the Pigeons. At the same time, some of these losses do not make sense, for the team is capable of earning more points. It would be different if they played terrible and gave up the goals, but there are times where the play is actually good. Alas, in the end it is the goals that lead to wins and losses, and New York City FC is in a very bad spot. Hopefully Pereira’s light will start to spread to his teammates, but the darkness is here, and after every loss, it gets darker.