Yesterday, New York City FC returned to action after a three-week international break, and it certainly felt like the team had become a little rusty. Much of the 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids felt sluggish and without rhythm.
New York City controlled the game throughout, but failed to create many major scoring opportunities until late on. It was only after a goal from Colorado’s Michael Barrios in the 68th minute that NYCFC started creating dangerous chances.
The Rapids came into this match with only one point from six road matches, and the way they played today showed why. Colorado spent much of this game packing defenders into the box, and the solo run from Michael Barrios – and the single shot on goal by the Rapids –deflated the crowd at Yankee Stadium, and allowed them to nab a point in the Bronx.
NYCFC: 16 shots, 4 on goal, 66.2% possession, 529 passes, 85.8% accuracy, 15 fouls
Colorado Rapids: 6 shots, 1 on goal, 33.8% possession, 271 passes, 62.7% accuracy, 21 fouls
The more things change, the more they stay the same
One of the biggest storylines heading into Sunday evening’s game was how the team would look under new interim manager Nick Cushing. The answer wound up being the obvious one all along.
The team was practically the same as before, from the way they were set up to the way they played. NYCFC lined up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation to start and the usual suspects lined up in their usual positions.
NYCFC looked to play in their free-flowing style as they did under Ronny Deila, but the Rapids hacking defense made it difficult if not impossible to string together a dangerous run. Another thing not helping with playing a sort of rhythmic style of soccer was the three-week-long international break that preceded the match. Nick Cushing said so himself.
“The break came at a good time for rest, but not for rhythm,” Cushing said after the game.
Cushing also noted that he did not want to change the team too much because of how well they have been performing. When asked why Keaton Parks started the game on the bench and wasn’t subbed on until the 71st minute, Cushing noted that Nicolás Acevedo has played well, and that the club’s congested schedule necessitates squad rotation.
Despite the choppy and ugly first half, Talles Magno shone throughout as a beacon of finesse and magic. He was by far the most dangerous player New York City had on the field, and the squad’s attack flowed almost exclusively through Magno’s left side of the field.
Talles Magno continuously went after Colorado center-back Lalas Abubakar and right-back Keegan Rosenberry, forcing the two into a plethora of fouls. It wasn’t just those defenders who played rough: Colorado used everyone they had to try and hack away at New York City. In fact, Colorado’s first two substitutions resulted in their two players on yellow cards at the time coming off the field.
Talles Magno’s play was rewarded in the second half with a spectacular goal: Just four minutes after Michael Barrios put Colorado ahead, Maxi Moralez lofted the ball to Talles Magno inside the 18: Talles Magno applied his magic touch, and chesting the ball down before powering the ball off the volley into the top left corner of the goal.
It’s so good, let’s watch it again from a different angle:
This goal is exactly the kind of play that NYCFC fans see as possible week in and week out with Talles Magno. Now it’s just a matter of converting his silky moves into goals like this one every game.
Still a streak, sorta
New York City carried two streaks into Sunday evening’s game: An eight-game unbeaten run, and six straight clean sheets in MLS action. After Sunday, only one of the two is still alive — the unbeaten run has been extended to an impressive nine games, but this is the sort of draw that feels almost like a loss. A win was more than possible on an evening where Colorado did very little attacking of their own.
A draw at home against a team with one point from six prior away matches isn’t exactly the way the club wants to extend an unbeaten run. Nevertheless, the streak is still intact going into NYCFC’s next MLS match against Philadelphia on Sunday.
As for the shutout streak coming to an end? It should be mourned and celebrated: That streak deserves to be recognized for how truly awesome it was. The 607-minute shutout streak is the third-longest in MLS history, behind only the 681 minutes of the 2000 Kansas City Wizards and the 727 minutes of the 2007 Houston Dynamo. New York City’s defense accomplished something historic.
Before allowing a @ColoradoRapids goal in the 68th minute of today's 1-1 draw, @NYCFC had gone 607 minutes of action without allowing a score, the third-longest streak in @MLS history.— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) June 20, 2022
Only the 2007 Houston Dynamo (727 minutes) & 2000 KC Wizards (681) had longer such streaks. pic.twitter.com/myEMVggPRh
As NYCFC fans may take a minute to appreciate how remarkable the back line and Sean Johnson had been in this stretch, just remember one thing: They’re only going to get stronger. A certain fan-favorite named Anton Tinnerholm returned to the 18 for the first time since October of 2021 on Sunday, and is bound to play soon.
Colorado, Michael Barrios 68’
NYCFC, Talles Magno 72’
Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
Assistant Referees: Gianni Facchini, Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Lukasz Szpala
VAR Referee: Edvin Jurisevica
Assistant VAR Referee: Adam Garner