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Houston 3, NYCFC 1: Blues come up short in Lone Star State

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A strong start quickly turns sour

MLS: New York City FC at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If New York City FC’s absolute thrashing of the Colorado Rapids last weekend was a small step in the right direction towards returning to the form they were in prior to this month, then their 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Houston Dynamo was a giant leap backwards.

Amidst constant — and conflicting — reports of manager Patrick Vieira’s departure, the Bron Blues traveled to the Lone Star State in an effort to take points off of a strong Dynamo side on the road. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be.

NYCFC came out in the 3-5-2 formation they fielded against Colorado, and initially things looked up. After weathering an early attack from Houston, the good guys struck first in the 6th minute. An advanced Anton Tinnerholm passed the ball off to Maxi Moralez, who then sent a cross into the area. And though the cross was defender by Houston, it fell straight to the feet of David Villa who rocketed one hard and low and into the back of the net, giving City an early 1-0 advantage.

Unfortunately, that would more or less be the extent of the good fortunes for the Boys in Blue.

After getting his ankle inadvertently stepped on in the run of play, Yangel Herrera fell to the pitch and was stretchered away, forcing NYCFC to sub in Tommy McNamara in the Venezuelan’s place. Herrera would later leave the arena in a wheelchair and go to a local hospital.

Not long after, a Dynamo free kick set up Alejandro Fuenmayor for a headed goal, tying the game in the 20th minute. From that point on, City struggled to work the ball effectively up the pitch for the remainder of the half, the ending of which saw both teams enter their respective locker rooms with the game still level.

But a hungry Houston team would see it out in the second half. In the 68th minute, Tomas Martinez gave the Dynamo the lead after a costly turnover from NYCFC midfielder Ebenezer Ofori.

After the goal, Vieira would call upon the dynamic wingers Jesus Medina and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to provide an offensive boost for NYCFC. Unfortunately, their presence was a non-factor.

The Dynamo would seal the game in the 79th minute. Alberth Elis met a cross with a header that was stopped cold by goalkeeper Sean Johnson. But Elis would effortlessly put in the rebound. That would put the final score of the game at 3-1, sending NYCFC back to the Bronx in a daze.

Next up: NYCFC makes a much needed return to New York to face Orlando City at Yankee Stadium on June 2.