New York City FC is hoping last night’s 3-1 win over DC United before 28,262 at Yankee Stadium is a turning point in its push for the playoffs. For the Black and Red, the game should serve as a wakeup call as it looks to maintain the top spot in MLS.
“I hope so”, said head coach Ben Olsen when asked if he hoped the loss would be a catalyst for better play. “Poku and Villa made us look like boys. They manhandled us in the second half. We didn’t have a lot of answers for them. It wasn’t just our backs. It was midfielders and we just had too many guys not play up to speed.”
Kwodwo Poku and David Villa finished the second half scoring surge after Thomas McNamara had tied the game at one in the 51st minute. Villa was able to squeeze between defenders Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin in the 80th minute for the game-winner on a beautiful ball from Andrea Pirlo. Poku ended hopes for a United draw with his goal in 88th minute.
United had the better first half and in the 36th minute seized on a Pirlo turnover to trigger a break with Chris Rolfe and Alvaro Saborio. While Rolfe dribbled to the area, Saborio continued his run. Rolfe rewarded Saborio with a perfect pass that he finished for his second goal in a United uniform.
“Thought we had one of our best halves in the last few weeks at least,” Rolfe said of the opening 45 minutes in New York. “Coming out in the second half we were confident in continuing that path. They put it to us. They had a lot more energy. They were confident in what they wanted to do, and it showed.”
- United needs to be more consistent. To be sure it is not all doom and gloom and United still leads the Supporter’s Shield table, but the last few weeks have been uneasy for the Black and Red. United’s three-game winning streak that ended last night was marked by consecutive rallies from early two-goal deficits and a victory despite being outshot 25-1. Resilient yes, but United ended up paying for that inconsistency on Thursday night. After a promising start to the game New York City had a 17-5 advantage in shots.
- Bill Hamid still shines in defeat. Despite conceding three goals, Hamid’s quality came through. He finished with four saves and gave United a chance to get something out of its trip to New York before the team collapsed in the final ten minutes.
- Return of Markus Halsti. In the off season Halsti was United’s big signing from Malmö in Sweden, but because of injuries has only appeared in seven league games. Halsti started last night, his first appearance since July 18 and head coach Ben Olsen said, “His range of passing changes our game. He got a bit leggy there towards the end. We need to get his fitness up so he can be a 90 minute player. I thought he was really good.”