Show of hands if you had all three goals coming after the 89th minute of Wednesday's friendly at IMG Academy.
This is when you click your heels together three times and remind yourself that it's just a friendly.
FC Cincinnati, set to debut in the USL division this year, benefited from facing a New York City side that trotted out devoid of most of its start power. Still, though, Patrick Vieira and the famously antsy NYCFC fan base surely hoped for a more engaging product under the lights in Bradenton.
Here's how the good guys lined up to start the game:
That's right, folks: the patented 3-2-2-3! And not just any 3-2-2-3, but the kind that includes only two natural center backs and three trialists.
I'll let you do the math.
To be fair, Cincy's full-strength squad acquitted itself well against the big boys from MLS. Though New York City continued its habit of dominating possession of the ball, especially up the middle following a number of changes in the second half, their command over the run of play wasn't enough to seal the result.
"[NYCFC] do a great job stretching the field. It's a chess game throughout the whole match," said FC Cincinnati coach and former U.S. international John Harkes. "We stayed organized. We did well. Just happy we took another chance to build confidence in what we're doing."
There's no other way around it: New York City continues to corner the market on "empty possession." If you aren't creating chances, you're wasting all that time on the ball.
One good thing to take from this game: that unorthodox back three basically worked. with Federico Bravo playing something of a sweeper role and Mikey Lopez bringing the ball forward to link up with the attack, the good guys rarely looked uncomfortable.
But the chances on goal simply weren't there.
In fact, the three best chances of the game all came in the final moments. Let's try to comprehend this.
- In the 90th minute, goalkeeper Eirik Johansen fell asleep at the wheel and gave up the ball smack in the middle of the danger area. Cincy's Luke Spencer could have tapped it in with his eyes closed off such a howler. 1-0.
- Seconds later, Tommy McNamara slammed home the equalizer for New York City.
- With the last kick of the game, defender Harrison Delbridge delivered the winner from the edge of the eighteen-yard box off a corner kick situation.
You said it, chief.
The preseason is nearly finished, and MLS play is right around the corner. After Saturday's 7:30 pm friendly against Icelandic side Reykjavik FC, it's off to Chicago for a long-awaited season opener on Sunday, March 6th.
Peace, love, and Poku, amen.