I wish I could tell you that New York City FC washed away the disappointment of Saturday’s preseason loss to the LA Galaxy (in which they were unnecessarily down a man, I might add). Unfortunately, I can’t.
It was more of the same for NYCFC on Tuesday night, losing on the road to Club Atletico de San Luis — the current basement dwellers of Mexico’s Ascenso MX — once again to the tune of 3-0.
City’s Starting XI was a much more experienced group this time around:
GK: Sean Johnson
DEF: Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Alex Callens, Ben Sweat
MID: James Sands, Yangel Herrera, Maxi Moralez
FWD: Rodney Wallace, David Villa (c), Tommy McNamara
Bench: Brad Stuver, Andre Rawls, Ryan Felix*, Sebastien Ibeagha*, Ronald Matarrita, Joseph Scally^, Justin Haak^, Ismael Tajouri, Jesus Medina, Jonathan Lewis, Andre Fortune*
^= NYCFC academy player
Similar to their bout against Los Angeles, NYCFC struggled to set the tone early. The lackluster start culminated in defender Matias Catalan scoring in the fourth minute after City failed to clear a corner, putting the Boys in Blue in an early hole.
Following the goal, however, NYCFC seemed to regain composure and take control, creating a plethora of quality chances. Unfortunately, the Blues were unable to put away the finishing touches and ended the first half facing a 1-0 deficit.
New York City made gradual changes to their lineup in the second half, including new DP Jesus Medina and star academy pupil Justin Haak, the latter of which received a raving — albeit trollingly hilarious — reception from the Mexican crowd. However, neither could stop San Luis’ devastating counterattack. Jahir Barraza and Jonathan dos Santos each scored a second-half goal, giving San Luis a 3-0 victory.
Overall, the game was an ugly affair for NYCFC. New signing Anton Tinnerholm struggled with ball distribution and failed to really adjust to his surroundings. Medina was introduced early in the second half, but was a relative non-factor in City’s attack.
Contrary to the jokes and hyperbole you see on Twitter and Facebook, I don’t think it’s time to panic. Not yet, at least. This is still preseason, and the growing pains will definitely be felt. It should also be noted that after conceding an early goal, NYCFC dominated the remainder of the first half and could’ve easily put in two or three goals had they been able to finish. It was only after a handful of trialists and academy players came on in the second half that things became extremely disjointed.
With that being said, it is important that City find a solution to their preseason woes, and fast. The club is a little over two weeks away from the season opener against Sporting Kansas City and has still yet to produce a quality product in a game setting.
Next up: New York City FC play a behind-closed-doors scrimmage against Real Salt Lake on February 22. Their final preseason matchup is on February 24 against the Montreal Impact, which will be streamed on NYCFC.com.