Wallace

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

NYCFC’s comeback falls just short; Crew SC through to East finals

Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less more): New York City FC, trailing 4-1, had the steepest of hills to climb during Sunday’s Eastern Conference semifinals second leg against Columbus Crew SC. Thanks to another star performance from David Villa, Patrick Vieira’s side so nearly did the unthinkable, but ultimately fell a goal short, winning 2-0 on the day, but falling 4-3 on aggregate. It wasn’t for a lack of chances either, as NYCFC peppered Zack Steffen’s goal to the tune of 16 shots (6 target, plus another that smashed the post late in the second half). Villa gave the home side a real belief when he converted from the penalty spot in the 16th minute, but Columbus held firm another 37 minutes before conceding again, to Andraz Struna. Crew SC will host Toronto FC, the 2017 Supporters’ Shield winners, in the first leg of the East finals on Nov. 21. Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium is expected to be the final appearance of Andrea Pirlo’s illustrious career after the Italian legend announced last month that he’ll retire at season’s end.

[ MORE: 3 keys to Sunday’s 2nd legs ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Villa converts from the spot to make it 4-2 — Josh Williams tripped Rodney Wallace in a largely inconsequential part of the penalty area, and Villa converted the spot kick to pull NYCFC to within two goals on aggregate.

53′ — Struna’s shot deflected past Steffen for 4-3 — Eerily similar to Daniel Royer’s goal for the New York Red Bulls earlier on Sunday, Struna did little more than hit this one into a sea of bodies and come up lucky.

70′ — Wallace does everything right… except hitting the post — From three goals down, to within an inch or two of making it 4-4 and advancing to the conference finals on away goals — it’s the thinnest of margins.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Yangel Herrera

Goalscorers: Villa (16′ – PK), Struna (53′)

Vieira: NYCFC “paid the price” for lackluster finishing in the final third

Twitter/@NYCFC
Leave a comment

Tuesday night’s defeat at MAPFRE Stadium brought up a lot of the same issues that New York City FC has faced for the better part of its first three seasons in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Crew blast NYCFC in first leg of East semifinals ]

Manager Patrick Vieira and his side conceded four goals in Columbus against the surging Crew in NYCFC’s 4-1 loss, which now puts the Eastern Conference regular season runners’ up at a distinct disadvantage heading into leg 2 on Sunday.

It’s not only a similar situation to that of a season ago — when NYCFC trailed Toronto FC by a scoreline of 2-0 heading into the home leg in the East semifinals — but actually worse considering the number of chances the Crew garnered in front of their home fans.

[ MORE: Zack Steffen spoke to PST ahead of Columbus’ first leg vs. NYCFC ]

Meanwhile, Vieira’s side simply wasn’t clinical enough when it came down to the critical moments of the match.

“We paid the price heavily tonight,” Vieira said following Tuesday’s defeat. “When you concede four goals away from home, you make things very difficult for yourselves.

“Of course, it is going to be a tough challenge, but it is a challenge that we are going to try to prepare ourselves for, and get ready for it.

“We’re gonna try. It will be really important to internalize the game tonight and come away with a plan of how to create chances and try not to concede.

“We’re going to give ourselves a good chance. Every time that we play them, we have the opportunity to score goals — not just one, but a few goals.”

NYCFC boasted one of the top attacks at times during the MLS regular season — led by captain David Villa and his 22 goals. However, the Spanish international has had little support in the attacking third for much of the second half of 2017, leaving Vieira’s squad vulnerable when they don’t cash in on goalscoring chances.

The team’s second-leading scorer, Jack Harrison, has scored just twice since the end of June, while the trio of Rodney Wallace, Maxi Moralez and Tommy McNamara have combined for four goals since May 21.

Over the last 10 games, including Tuesday’s loss, the Bronx side has scored just 10 goals — which by their standards is quite low. In comparison, Villa and Co. registered 47 finishes through their first 25 MLS matches this season.

With attacking players not named Villa struggling to find finishing opportunities as of late, NYCFC’s uphill climb just became that much more difficult when the club travels back home to host the Crew.

“In the last seven or eight games, when we were struggling to win games a little bit, the content of our game was there,” Vieira explained.

“It’s just, we don’t score goals. When you look at the number of chances we created in the first half, we didn’t take our chances.

“They took their chances and we didn’t take them. When you create so many chances and you only score once, it’s not good enough.”

Defensively, NYCFC didn’t make things easier for themselves after Alexander Callens was sent off seven minutes into the second half after raising an elbow to Crew attacker Justin Meram’s face prior to a corner kick.

Without Callens — who has previously started every match this season for NYCFC — Vieira’s group is left with a thin set of options at the back. First-choice center back Maxime Chanot remains sidelined with an injury, potentially leaving Fredrick Brillant, Ethan White and 16-year-old James Sands up for selection on Sunday.

FOLLOW LIVE – Columbus, NYCFC meet in MLS Playoff leg 1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

“When you play well and you take your chances you always have more chances to win games than the opposition team.”

Patrick Viera is sticking to the simple and obvious as NYCFC gets set to defend its 2-seed in the East against 5-seeded Columbus in the first round of the MLS playoffs with an 8:00 pm E.T. kick.

[ FOLLOW: MLS first round scores, play-by-play ]

NYCFC has been led by David Villa, who finished second in the Golden Boot standings, but Viera has been impressed not by one Crew member, but all of them. “What I love about Columbus is the collective game,” Vieira said. “When the collective is good that allows the individual to show how good they are.

With the game set to take place at Mapfre Stadium, the crowd should be fired up by the recent rumors of Columbus relocation. The atmosphere is expected to be incredibly hostile to the opposition, and supportive of its hometown team. Recent rumblings have energized the Columbus fanbase, and that should keep the place bumping all night.

New York’s collective is pretty strong too. With Villa the star, players like Yangel Herrera and Rodney Wallace are just as important to the unit. Herrera especially is the anchor of a midfield that often decides NYCFC’s fate in matches.

Who will get the advantage in the first leg? Follow along with the link above.

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 1-0 Sporting KC

twitter.com/@NYCFC
Leave a comment

The match in 100 words (or less)A first half which saw a whopping two shots on target, both from NYCFC, certainly lived down to expectations with Alex Ring, David Villa, Yangel Herrera, Rodney Wallace, Matt Besler, and Graham Zusi all still returning from international duty or injured on it. The Yankee Stadium Crowd was saved from the nils when Jack Harrison got the job done to keep the East’s two seed safe.

Three moments that mattered

13′ — Melia, Espinoza deny Harrison’s header — Frederic Brillant’s odd pop of Andrea Pirlo’s corner was covered at the back post by a goalkeeper and a veteran teammate.

45′ — Melia parries Moralez’s rip — Might as well show the second shot on target from the miserly half at Yankee Stadium.

85′ — Harrison breaks through — Once denied, not twice with a great finish across Melia, as the ex-Manchester United Academy man gave NYCFC its deserved three points.

Premier League releases 25-man squads for 2017-2018 season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the close of the transfer window, Premier League rosters are now set for the season.

On Friday evening, after teams submitted their squads, the Premier League released each team’s 25-man squads for the current season.

There are some notable omissions. Arsenal left out Santi Cazorla, who continues to recover from an achillies injury while Chelsea left Abdul Baba Rahman off its list. However, Diego Costa was included on Chelsea’s roster despite the Spanish international’s attempts to force a move away. Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk and Everton’s Ross Barkley made their club’s squads as well.

There are six Americans currently registered for the upcoming season. Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron, Newcastle United’s DeAndre Yedlin and Huddersfield Town’s Danny Williams are registered as senior squad members. Bournemouth’s Emerson Hyndman, Arsenal’s Gedion Zelalem and Chelsea’s Kyle Scott are registered as Under-21 players, while Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers, on loan at Sheffield United for the season, is also registered as an Under-21 player.

 

Per Premier League rules, no more than 17 players who don’t fulfill the league’s “home grown” requirements can be registered. A home grown player is someone who has been registered by the FA or the Welsh FA for three years before the age of 21.

Under-21 players, those born after January 1, 1996, are eligible to play in the Premier League this season without being registered. Teams can update and change their squads

Here’s a look at the 2017-2018 Premier League squads:

(more…)