ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — Since his arrival midway through last season as New York City FC coach, Dome Torrent has wrestled with the “form vs. debate” question.
There’s been times when NYCFC’s performances have met their coach’s standards, but the club faltered and Torrent would have to explain his stance to the media while fans complained on social media.
Following a franchise-best 12-match unbeaten streak, NYCFC have dropped back-to-back league games for the first time this season — a 1-0 defeat at home to the Portland Timbers and the bitter and controversial 2-1 loss at the New York Red Bulls Sunday.
So is Torrent pleased with the performance or concerned about the recent results?
“We’re still in a good way, it’s the best way to play,” Torrent said after training Wednesday. “But everybody knows we have to finish when we have opportunities. It’s my opinion, but in the first half [against the Red Bulls], we could score maybe two goals more. And when that happens in soccer, the game usually is over.”
Heber gave NYCFC an early lead and there were multiple chances to tack onto the lead that went array. The Cityzens were punished for squandering those chances when a mistake in midfield by Ronald Matarrita led to a Danny Royer equalizer from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time.
“If you play much better than the opponent, and you score just one goal and you make one mistake, its 1-1 and after that anything can happen,” Torrent said. “We have to finish the actions because sometimes we play much better than the opponent, but the best way to take confidence is to win the next game and the next game.”
NYCFC also struggled with finishing multiple chances in the loss to the Timbers. In both games, the club was without injured wingers Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Alexandru Mitrita, who have combined for eight goals this season. Mitrita will likely be back to play a limited role against the Colorado Rapids Saturday, but Tajouri-Shradi will be out with an ankle injury.
“I’m very happy just for the performance,” Torrent said. “I think we are in the right way to improve and improve, but the most important thing is to finish. I remember the top teams when they have three or four opportunities, they score two or three goals. That is the difference sometimes.”
Consecutive league losses sandwiched between a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals ouster to Orlando City SC on penalty kicks represents longest stretch without a win since opening the season with six consecutive games to open the season that led Torrent to think he was on the hot seat.
This time, though, the feeling is different because of how well NYCFC have played. The unbeaten streak may be over, but the club’s strong form continues.
“Exactly, that’s my point,” Tinnerholm said. “If you look at the games, I should be more worried if we played in a poor way. But I think especially in the first half against Red Bull, we should have scored two, three, four goals maybe.”
“I think with the performances the last three games we deserved more,” Tinnerholm added. “Maybe we deserved less in the other 12 games so you got what you deserve in the end. We’re on a mission and we have to keep on going. We want to win the cup so it’s time to bounce back now.”