Skip to content

Poor finishing on display as NYCFC drop points to Charlotte

Playing with confidence clearly doesn't equal goals.

Braian Cufré's 81' goal saved the day |

New York City FC played host to Charlotte FC in a match that perfectly defines the club’s season thus far: This is a team that lacks a finishing touch. Players and fans alike were forced to endure another winless night, as the match ended 1-1. 

Looking to ride the momentum gained from their victory away at CF Montreal early this week, NYCFC did everything in their power to grab a win at home, except score. The host dominated in both possession and offensive metrics in the first half, but a defensive lapse opened the door for Charlotte to grab the lead in the first half.

Following Charlotte’s goal, desperation ensued for the majority of both halves, as NYCFC launched balls into the box in an attempt to give fans something to cheer for.

Finally, as if the soccer gods decided to spare the fans of NYCFC, Braian Cufré found himself open inside the box, and rifled a shot at goal-wards. The strike takes a heavy deflection before ending up in the back of the net, and Citi Field erupted in euphoria. 

But that was all she wrote. NYCFC was rewarded just one point for their troubles.

Game Stats

NYCFC: 21 Shots, 5 On Target, 58% Possession, 490 Passes, 87% Pass Success, 10 Fouls
Charlotte FC: 3 Shots, 2 On Target, 42% Possession, 333 Passes, 79% Pass Success, 14 Fouls

Confidence doesn’t equal goals

Coming off of an impressive away win against CF Montréal, when NYCFC snapped an 11-match winless run, the squad’s confidence was much higher going into Wednesday night. This was made apparent early on, as NYCFC dominated possession and controlled every facet of the game during the opening 10 minutes. Charlotte FC’s keeper Kristijan Kahlina was made to work from the start, as crosses were whipped into the box at a premium. 

Alas, in typical NYCFC fashion, a lapse of judgment at the back allowed Charlotte to take the lead in the 17th minute courtesy of a long-distance curler from Orrin McKinze Gaines. The concession of the goal invoked a feeling of desperation from the NYCFC players, as the attacking line pushed further and further forward while launching shots from near and far. 

The Boys in Blue finished the first half with eight total shots, three of which were on target. Attacks came at a premium for NYCFC, through counters and corners, yet the finishing was lackluster as best during the first half. Forwards Talles Magno and Richy Ledezma showed signs of life, but each ended the half goalless.

Chances continued to pass NYCFC as the second half got underway, as Talles Magno and Maxime Chanot failed to convert shots inside the opposing penalty area. Prolific winger Gabriel Pereira was brought on midway through the second half, yet he, too, was unable to find the back of the net. The Brazilian had five shots in 30 minutes, all of which were off-target.

Cufré’s deflected strike in the 81st minute gave the home support something to cheer about for the first time all evening, but it shouldn’t distract from the fact that NYCFC cannot finish. NYCFC ended Wednesday’s draw 1-1 with Charlotte with 21 total shots, 11 of which were off target.

The rumored arrival of striker Monsef Bakrar from the Croatian first division can’t come soon enough.

NYCFC draw with Charlotte highlights glaring transfer needs

Trouble defending under pressure

The defense has been an Achilles heel for NYCFC all season long, with avoidable goals conceded nearly every match. Wednesday’s contest against Charlotte was no different. Though NYCFC dominated the match early on, it was Charlotte who struck first. After Enzo Copetti hit the post inside the opening 10 minutes, it was winger McKinze Gaines who fired the visitors into the lead with an impressive curler from outside the box. 

As Polish forward Karol Świderski drove into the box, he was dispossessed by the combination of Tayvon Gray and Justin Haak. Yet, like a deer in headlights, Haak tamely cleared the ball with little conviction as pressure was applied, rolling the ball outside the penalty area, and teeing up McKinze Gaines. As his finish rippled the back of the NYCFC net, Haak, Barraza, and the rest of the City back line could only stand and watch. 

Though Charlotte did not manage another shot for the remainder of the first half, the NYCFC defense was put under immense pressure.

As the second half progressed, the NYCFC defense played a step off the pace. At one point, 34-year-old Scott Arfield, who came on for his MLS Debut in the 55th minute, managed to dribble through the entire back line, nutmegging Chanot before Luis Barraza was able to sweep up the danger. It exemplifies the state of NYCFC’s defending this campaign.

Report: Algerian striker Monsef Bakrar headed to NYCFC

A momentum-crusher

Once again, NYCFC leaves the pitch without a win. The players and fans will feel hard done by this result, as the NYCFC offense looked poised to score five or six goals from the opening whistle. Snapping the winless run in Montreal gave NYCFC fans a shred of optimism that the season could be turned around yet, but a draw of this nature does little to back that up. 

Drawing a club such as Charlotte isn’t necessarily something to hang your head over. After all, both clubs are tied on 25 points, just one point outside of the Eastern Conference playoff positions. Yet, this draw feels worse when you think about what could have been. 

Finding 21 shots is an incredible feat, but to only score one goal – from a shot that was flying miles wide if not for a lucky Charlotte deflection – is incredibly disappointing.

Wednesday night’s contest was a match that NYCFC should’ve cruised out of as emphatic victors, yet Cushing’s men have to settle for just one point once again. The saying “a point is a point” may hold some truth, but it gets to a point in the season where a point becomes an opportunity wasted, which was most certainly the case Wednesday night. 

Charlotte FC: Orrin McKinze Gaines 17′
NYCFC: Braian Cufre 81′

NYCFC, Justin Haak, Yellow Card, Foul 58′
Charlotte FC, Karol Swiderski, Yellow Card, Foul 58′
NYCFC, Keaton Parks, Yellow Card, Foul 88′
Charlotte FC, Bill Poni Tuiloma, Yellow Card, Foul 90+2′

Attendance: 15,122

Referee: Filip Dujic
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson & Lyes Arfa
Fourth Official: Luis Arroyo
VAR: Michael Radchuk
Assistant VAR: Thomas Supple