ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — When Maxi Moralez struck the post on a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time of Sunday’s match at D.C. United, the embattled New York City FC head coach had a moment of reflection.
“No, no – what has happened this year,” Dome Torrent said to himself.
Instead of striding into the locker room with a 2-0 lead at the interval, Torrent and the Pigeons were forced to wonder if an extension to a dubious streak would continue.
New York City was winless in their first six matches – a franchise record to begin a season – with five draws that included the evaporation of three leads.
And the second-year coach was well aware of his personal situation with unrest among the supporters and the presence of Brian Marwood from City Football Group.
“Right now I am in trouble as a head coach,” Torrent said in the pregame briefing. “I know and I have to accept that.”
The striker that Torrent was eager to sign, Héber, scored his first New York City goal on 56 minutes and City then finished off a comprehensive 2-0 road victory over the first place team in the Eastern Conference.
NYCFC was at the bottom of the 12-team Eastern table at the beginning of the day and rose to ninth by the early evening.
“I said to them all the time, you are much better,” Torrent said after the triumph. “Maybe you don’t have the right head coach, but you are much better than you think.”
A reporter after the D.C. United match asked Torrent if the players have been supporting him.
“I don’t know,” Torrent said. “If you have a doubt, ask them about it.”
Right back Anton Tinnerholm countered suggestions that there was unrest within the team.
“We haven’t talked about anything like that,” the Swede said. “Everyone has been supporting Dome since the start. I think today (Sunday) we showed the way he wants to play.”
“I’m sure I have the confidence of my players because every single day they show me how hard they train and the confidence they have in my staff,” Torrent said.
NYCFC will attempt to maintain their form with a second match in four days when they meet the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
“Hopefully, we get some confidence from this,” Tinnerholm said. “It’s an important game on Wednesday.”
“I think in the moment on the weekend in D.C., that weight was lifted a bit, but when we got back to training I think that weight came back on,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “Winning a game was an important hurdle with us, but now the challenge is to go on and replicate that performance.”