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RECAP: New England 1, New York City 0

The Pigeons are in a tailspin as they suffer their first home loss

Brandon Bye scampers away from Valentin Castellanos
Brandon Bye scampers away from Valentin Castellanos
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

28 shots on goal. Five shots on target. One win in the last seven games.

These are the takeaways from what can honestly only be called a bad loss. At least — at least — the Pigeons did not look hopelessly outclassed, like they did Saturday at Columbus. At least they consistently attacked, and put New England goalkeeper Brad Knighton under constant, consistent pressure.

Oh, and James Sands had his first MLS start, and looked up to it, until being subbed off late.

But this was a bad loss, make no mistake. New York City were playing a Revolution team that were winless in their last nine games. A team which had had its desire questioned by its own head coach. A team that gave New York City all the possession it wanted, and all kinds of time and space to do things with the ball.

It’s just that the Pigeons didn’t do anything with it.

The chances came fast for New York City. In the fifth minute, off the post. In the 15th, just wide of the post. A free header just wide in the 20th minute. Even James Sands got into it — another header, just wide, in the 55th minute. In the 61st minute, David Villa turned, shot...and you guessed it: just wide. Weirdly, in the 68th minute, manager Domè Torrent substituted Eloi Amagat for Valentin Castellanos, who’d had a number of chances and probably played his best game for New York City yet. Amagat made no impact.

New England wouldn’t be so spendthrift. In the 71st minute, midfielder Kelyn Rowe gathered the ball up and drove forward. He fed Cristian Penilla outside the box. Penilla shot, straight at Johnson, but the keeper couldn’t corral the ball. Brian Wright — who could’ve easily had a hat trick on the night, having had two other shots come off the post — neatly tucked in the rebound. Just like that, the Revs led 1-0.

And just like that, the frustration set in for the Pigeons. Again, again they went forward, only to be calmly denied by a resolute New England defense. In the 75th minute, seeking to spark his team, Torrent made a second — and as it turned out, final — substitution, taking off James Sands for Jonathan Lewis. All this did was ease up control of the midfield, giving the Revs breathing space to control the ball, as Alexander Ring was forced to play a fully defensive role.

Just as you thought things couldn’t get worse, in the 89th Ring got a yellow card. The card meant that he’ll be suspended for Saturday’s clash against DC United. The game sputtered to a close after that.

It seems the annual autumn swoon has set in for New York City. DC United, despite never having won at Yankee Stadium, have to fancy their chances Saturday. That game is at 4:55 pm, and will be televised on Univision.