If there’s any proof that New York City FC desperately need help, especially in the midfield, Saturday night’s 1-0 loss in Foxborough to the New England Revolution should be the evidence that anyone around NYCFC, staff and supporters alike, need.
NYCFC (5-9-6) were the favorites going into Saturday night’s game as the Revolution lost five in a row while the Blues have won three in a row on the road. However NYCFC looked more like the team they were during the 11-game winless streak than the team they have been as of late.
Despite what head coach Jason Kreis wants to call an “’A’ for effort,” NYCFC’s effort on Saturday night still doesn’t hide the fact that the Blues issues in the midfield and the backline continue to linger, despite the additions of Andoni Iraola and Angelino.
For the first time since the beginning of the season, NYCFC allowed a goal in the first 15 minutes when Lee Nguyen’s shot beat goalkeeper Josh Saunders in the 12th minute to put the Revolution up 1-0 early on. Prior to Nguyen’s goal, NYCFC opened the match with three shots on goal in the first two minutes, however, Patrick Mullins, Thomas McNamara and Angelino each missed the early opportunities.
Angelino and Iraola started and weren’t much of a factor on Saturday night, however both center backs Shay Facey and the newly-renumbered Jason Hernandez also struggled to full contain the Revolution’s attack, something that NYCFC should’ve been able to keep in check throughout the match.
However with a huge, potentially playoff-pending match against Orlando City SC on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1), big-time reinforcements should be on the way.
The team could be reinforced with the debuts of both midfielders Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, both of whom should support the attacking and defensive ends of NYCFC’s midfield. Since both Ned Grabavoy (red card) and Jason Hernandez (yellow card accumulation) will miss Sunday’s match, both Lampard and Pirlo should see playing time in the Bronx. Mix Diskerud is still on international duty with the USMNT in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.
Lampard should start for the Blues, however Pirlo is expected to train on Wednesday, but may not come into the game until the second half on Sunday given his lack of training time with the club.
“This is another big game for us,” midfielder Kwadwo Poku said after Saturday night’s loss. “We tied the first time we met them. A win versus Orlando would really be great. We always say we want to make the playoffs, so we will try and fight as hard as possible to make it.”
Both Lampard and Pirlo will help the Blues mostly in the possession game, one aspect where the midfield has struggled in the last two games. On Saturday, the Revolution dominated the passing game, controlling the ball 54.9 percent to NYC’s 45.1 percent. They also outshot NYCFC 14-9 (4-3 on target). Pirlo can also improve NYCFC’s set-pieces while Lampard can provide cap
Although it’s yet to be confirmed, recent signee Jefferson Mena should make his NYCFC debut soon for the Blues, however Sunday would be the perfect time for it.
Then again, Sunday afternoon in the Bronx would be the perfect time for the entire cavalry to arrive.