NYCFC ends the homestand with a loss, losing to Colorado for the first time

  • NYCFC and the Colorado Rapids faced off in a rainy afternoon match
  • The Pigeons fell to the Rapids for the first time, losing 2-0
NYCFC / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was a rainy and cold Sunday afternoon when New York City FC welcomed the Colorado Rapids to Citi Field.  This was the first time the teams faced one another since Nick Cushing took charge of his first game in 2022.  The last battle ended in a 1-1 draw, and the home team never lost against the traveling side heading into the fixture.

Notably, Talles Magno was available for the first time this season. Then, Jovan Mijatović was not available, which was interesting since he was not on the injury report.  Hopefully, Nick Cushing offers some context at some point after the game.  If he does, then this will be updated below.  However, Glenn Crooks said his absence could be due to an injury in training.

As a result, Mounsef Bakrar remained in the Starting XI despite his struggles. The confidence Cushing has for the Algerian is admirable. Moreover, the striker is an offensive threat after every game. The question beforehand was whether he would finally exit the goal-scoring drought that has plagued him all season.

The answer was unfortunately no.  Bakrar’s scoreless streak continued, and NYCFC’s unbeaten streak against the Rapids came to an end.  The 2-0 loss concluded the homestand on a sour note.

NYCFC falls to the Rapids for the first time

The rain put a damper on NYCFC’s performance at the start, for Colorado immediately opened the floodgates of their threats.  The Pigeons took about seven to eight minutes to finally get the ball out of their own half before the periods of possession switched off in the first half.  The difference was that the Rapids put more pressure on NYCFC’s defense.  As a result, they went on top in the 16th minute.

Colorado scored the goal thanks to a brilliant counterattack that saw the ball eventually fall to Rafael Navarro.  The Brazilian, who was on a diagonal, swept it over the entire back line and beyond the reach of Matt Freese into the top-right corner of the goal.  The golazo was impossible to save.

As the first half continued, it felt like the Rapids dealt with the rain and wet pitch better than NYCFC.  The passes were more accurate and the players moved more fluidly.  At the same time, the visiting defense closed down the Pigeon’s attack, limiting their chances or forcing weak shots throughout most of the first half.  Although, the team from Queens did improve towards the end of the first 45 minutes, and then they became more threatening in the second half.

They finished the game with 15 total shots, but only three on target.  The inability to capitalize on shots was a major issue during the match, and some of their shots were lackluster.  The Pigeons also maintained 66.3% of the possession, and by the end of the match, their passing percentage accuracy was higher at 85.9%.

That did not matter though, for Colorado got their second goal late in the second half in the 86th minute thanks to Cole Bassett, putting the visitors up 2-0. This subsequently ended the current winning streak for the Pigeons and led to the first loss ever against the Rapids.

When the opportunity presented itself, the NYCFC players tended to mishit their shots or send them wide.  Rapids’ goalkeeper Zack Steffen did not have too much work to do because of the weak shots and missed chances.  In addition, the Colorado defense continued to work hard, keeping the home team out of goal.

Truthfully, the scoreline does not reflect the performance of the Pigeons by the time the final whistle blew.  It was a slow start, but they became the dominant team.  However, the beautiful game is not about how well a team plays, but whether they can score.

With the homestand over, NYCFC now has some difficult games coming their way, including three road games this month.  Their difficulties on the road have been the story for the last couple of seasons, including this year.  Cushing must figure out how to unlock his team to steal some points.  It does not need to be perfect, but it is necessary.