In the middle of a four-match unbeaten run in which the club hadn’t conceded a goal, New York City FC was riding high. Unfortunately, the Boys in Blue finally came crashing back down to Earth Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Sounders.
Coming off a short week, NYCFC suffered a humiliating 3-1 loss to Seattle and were unable to capitalize on a rare opportunity to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference. Victory is far from a certain thing when it comes to road games in Major League Soccer, but if history is any indication, winning against any club from the Pacific Northwest has been unpredictable no matter the venue.
Since their inaugural 2015 season, the Boys in Blue have had an interesting track record against all three Cascadia Cup contenders. In the 11 total games the club has played against the Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps so far, NYCFC sports a middling 5-0-6 (W-D-L) record. That’s not great, but it seems like it’s par for the course when it comes to MLS. However, the way that record breaks down is quite surprising.
For example, NYCFC actually owns a better record in the Pacific Northwest (3-0-3) than they do at home (2-0-3) despite a -2 goal difference across those six games. What’s more interesting, however, is the disparity in record that NYCFC has against the three teams individually.
Last weekend’s loss in Seattle turned the all-time series between the two squads into a virtual coin flip. NYCFC sports a 2-0-2 record in the four matches played against their Emerald City foes, and each team have stolen points on the road. Everything is even across the board except for goal difference, in which the Sounders own a +1 advantage. Not to make excuses for the club, but last week’s lopsided loss could be attributed to the 50-50 nature of the all-time series. That, or the club was victim of terrible scheduling.
The Portland Timbers, however, have absolutely dominated NYCFC throughout the club’s young history. The Timbers own a commanding 3-0-1 in their all-time series with NYCFC and have only conceded two goals in the four matches played between the two. Of those three wins against the Cityzens, Portland has earned two of them at Yankee Stadium (both by a 1-0 scoreline), which is incredibly impressive when you consider how strong NYCFC has been at home since 2016.
A 3-0-5 combined record against the participants of MLS’ premier rivalry isn’t a strong showing for a club that’s been one of the league’s best the past three years. However, the one PNW squad that hasn’t given the club fits - which bodes well for Saturday’s match - is the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Boys in Blue own a 2-0-1 record (which includes a rare West Coast road win) all-time against the Canadian side and are the only team in Cascadia in which they have a positive goal differential against (+1).
All that being said, it’s still too early and there’s too little a sample size to consider NYCFC’s performance a true and tested trend, especially with their .500 road record. However, what can be said is this: the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps have clearly made for some interesting soccer over the past four years.