Any argument about New York City FC being a better team at home was put to rest on Saturday. After a winless four-game Major League Soccer tour, the Pigeons' struggles continued at home, losing 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Citi Field.
The tenth-seeded Pigeons came out swinging against their fifth-seeded visitors. The passes were sharp, the ball moved forward, and it did not take long for the first few opportunities at goal to come. NYCFC's possession and active pressure eventually led to a Gabriel Pereira goal in the 30th minute.
However, it started to go downhill for NYCFC from that point forward. The period surrounding both sides of halftime spelled defeat as Philadelphia buried the lead with three quick goals.
Two clinical finishes from Julián Carranza closed out the first half in the dying minutes (45+1' and 45+3'). After the break, a foul from Thiago Martins led to a penalty kick which was converted by Dániel Gazdag in the 53rd.
NYCFC allowed three goals in the team's first loss at home
Although New York City FC held the ball well, they had trouble defending counterattacks where the Union got its opportunities.
The rest of the game was chippy, but it did not take long for the Pigeons to fizzle out in frustration. An unusually displeased home crowd cleared the seats early-- leaving a stale and defeated team with crumbs of the audience as they took their first loss at home this season.
NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing addressed what needed to change postgame. He emphasized the need for improvement in multiple areas, especially goal scoring. He also expressed the need for maturity and resilience.
"Of course, scoring goals wins football games. And if we scored a second goal tonight--it wouldn't be easier because Philadelphia would still be putting us under pressure--but it gives you breathing room in the game."- Nick Cushing
"I've said before, we have to be more resilient as a team. We're a new team and a young team. We have to be more resilient in those moments after the first goal. We have to show more maturity to keep the game at 1-1 and continue to apply the game plan."- Nick Cushing
Now 4-6-4 for the season, the Pigeons slide to the eleventh seed after splitting the last five MLS games between four losses and a draw.
Cushing stated that their busy schedule this week is ideal as it gives them opportunities to turn their fate in rapid succession. New York City FC will welcome FC Cincinnati on Wednesday and the New England Revolution on Saturday. Both games will be played at Yankee Stadium.