March 13, 2016
Five takeaways from NYC FC’s tie with Toronto
By Michael Lewis
Tommy McNamara had another strong game for NYC FC.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BRONX -- Here are five things that yours truly took from New York City FC's 2-2 loss, err, draw, with Toronto FC Sunday night.
Well, what do you think? It felt like a loss because the team gave away a two-goal lead at home, the equalizer being scored in the 76th minute, which has become sort of an unwanted tradition for City over the past two seasons.
75th minute blues for the Blues
In 2015, City led all of MLS with the most goals conceded from the 75th minute and this year's version is following suit -- two in the 4-3 win at the Chicago Fire last Sunday and another one, a devastating one in the 76th minute Sunday.
Quite frankly, this could very well be the difference between a good side and a medicore one (or even worse). If the team has serious designs to reach the postseason, these late goals have to stop. The team must find a way to close out matches. Coach Patrick Vieira said it was a mentality, but rather playing under pressure. If it happens too many times, it becomes a mentality, like it or not.
Which brings us to this item. As potent as the attack may be, City leaves a lot to be desired when the team must defend. Unless it scores three or four goals a game on a consistent basis, I fear this will be ongoing problem and headache for the Blues.
When push came to shove in the 76th minute, Sebastian Giovinco managed to find some room and drill home the devastating equalizer.
Mix and Mc
Midfielders Mix Diskerud and Tommy McNamara played another strong game while on the attack, particularly Diskerud, who has played his best soccer of his NYC FC tenure. Yes, it is only two games into the season, but it is certainly an encouraging sign.
Sometimes, though, it is difficult to tell them apart because both players have flowing hair, when you are watching game from the press box. From my selfish standpoint, I would love one them to get a haircut, but my gut feeling is that that is not going to happen.
I have to admit. I am still trying to figure one of Vieira's second-half subs out. Two minutes after Giovinco made it 2-2, he brought on Ethan White, a defender, for Khiry Shelton, a forward, in the 78th minute. Don't know if it was too late to pull back the sub, but you would like to think that he would be still trying to go for the win, not the draw at that juncture.
No Poku again
Not even on the bench. For the second game in a row, Kwadwo Poku, the one-man sparkplug from last year, did not dress. Certainly a questionable choice, considering his track record from last year. During the postgame press conference, a writer asked Vieira why Poku didn't get an opportunity to play and whether he was going to be trade. Vieira said no, Poku is not on the trading block and will have plenty of opportunities to perform this season. He could have been a viable option to bring on Sunday night.
The brilliance of Giovinco (bonus)
I have to admit I have been treated to one of the best players in all of MLS two weeks running. Giovinco is a player that seems to be marked out of the game or in the shadows, then he figures out a way to become a destroyer. He accomplished that feat in away games -- in a 2-0 victory over the Red Bulls last week and in the 2-2 draw over City.
The man is crafty with the ball, his spot kicks are well, on the spot, has fantastic vision, is a game-changer and has taken a couple of giant steps forward in his pursuit of a second consecutive MVP honor.