On the surface, New York City FC actually had a pretty good first half against the New England Revolution. 68% possession, 10 shots — 6 of them on target. If you were just looking at the stat sheet without any visual aides whatsoever, one would think the numbers were indicative of a team that was having their way with their opponent and thoroughly outplaying them.
What those numbers wouldn’t tell you, however, was that NYCFC were chasing the game after conceding an early goal within the first five minutes of the game. And from there, the Revs went into a defensive shell to keep City from taking advantage of what often proves to be an oppressive homefield advantage at Yankee Stadium.
That’s not to say that NYCFC didn’t have their chances.
Jesus Medina failed to make any real noise when in dangerous positions, often being forced to pass the ball away or flubbing a shot attempt. Many of City’s chances were half chances that resulted in shots caroming off of the shins of New England defenders. Taty Castellanos was constantly marked and was kept from making incisive runs in behind.
By the time NYCFC finally found the back of the net in second half stoppage time via a headed goal by Alexander Callens, it was already too late. The early goal, plus the penalty given away in the 81st minute had already locked the Revs in for a big road win in the Bronx.
“We talk a lot [about] using the space in behind,” NYCFC manager Ronny Deila told the press following the 2-1 defeat. “In the second half, we were losing control of the game a little bit because we used too [many] touches on the ball. And we started to get tired after a while because we were chasing the game a lot. I think overall we should’ve scored more. But I think we conceded too many chances this time.”
The loss at Yankee Stadium makes it only the third time New York City have suffered defeat since the season restart back in August. But they’ll have not time to mope about it as a very formidable Orlando City side lay in wait for a Sunday night battle.