March 19, 2016
5 takeaways from the NYC FC loss
By Michael Lewis
New York City FC suffered its first loss of the season in a 1-0 defeat to Orlando City FC at Yankee Stadium Friday night.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
A striking situation
Orlando did well not allowing NYC FC captain David Villa to get into many dangerous positions. A consummate team player, Villa worked hard to set up his teammates on scoring chances. But Villa's job is as a striker and that position is supposed to strike. As I look back over my game notes of the 16 shots that NYC FC took, the only opportunity Villa had was that bicycle kick in the 68th minute. For someone of his stature, City and Villa must find a way to get this multi-talented striker open.
Dead ball on arrival
Converting free kicks and corner kicks into goals has been a City problem since Day One last season and it has continued this year. The hosts had 12 corners Friday and I am surprised Andrea Pirlo didn't pull a muscle he took so many. Except for goalkeeper Joe Bendkik save on Mix Diskerud's sho in the 17th minute, most of them were duds. Pirlo's free kicks did not fare much better as well.
Into the Mix
The Mix Diskerud we have seen in only three games is about 180 degrees different from the 2015 version. Playing a central midfielder role, he is more part of the attack. He had some fabulous opportunities to score Friday but could not convert. He gets good grades for getting into dangerous positions, but not high marks for putting them away. You have to remember he is not a goal-scorer and won't fill the net on a regular basis. Villa has to set the tone, not just for Diskerud, but for the entire team.
Cyle Larin, who has a name fit for a Star Wars character or villain, played the villain again against a New York MLS team. He tallied but once, but it was more than enough. Larin has broken the mold of No. 1 MLS SuperDraft choices fading into obscurity. He is the real deal with his speed, vision and ability to be in the right place at the right time. Those are traits you want to see in your striker.
Orlando head coach Adrian Heath said that he would like to see Larin score more than 20 goals this season. Larin has struck in each of the Lions' three matches. If he stays healthy -- the striker was forced from the game with a second-half injury -- he should attain that goal.
Deep into second-half stoppage time, City had the ball in its end and the players were kicking it around as though it was a kick around. No urgency to boot it forward for some sort of Hail Mary play.
What the heck happened there?
Sometimes from chaos good results will emerge in a miraculous fluke goal.
I realize it was a long shot to see something come of it, but why didn't anyone try to take a long shot or try a long pass?
Have any of the players seen those buzz beaters during March Madness?