NEW YORK — New York City FC had been one of the road stars of Major League Soccer the last two seasons. However, the garland they donned for their excellence away from home has been replaced by a crown of thorns.
In 2016 and 2017, NYCFC totaled 46 points away from the Bronx, eclipsed only by Toronto FC’s 50 points.
Four victories in 14 away matches (4-7-3) have left the boys in blue searching for a proper response in 2018. Five of the positive results (two wins, three draws) came before the middle of May.
“I don’t know exactly what happens when we play away, but we play much, much better at Yankee Stadium,” head coach Dome Torrent said after Saturday’s 2-1 road defeat to Columbus Crew SC. “Even with nine players against the team at the top of the league (New York Red Bulls) we were able to play really well. But when we play away, we don’t play in the same way.”
NYCFC earned a 1-1 draw against the Red Bulls despite a pair of red-card suspensions.
“Congratulations to Columbus, they were able to play better than us in two games,” Torrent said after his road record dropped to 2-4 since taking over for Patrick Vieira. “Not just here (in Columbus), even at Yankee Stadium. But maybe Yankee Stadium is special for us. We have energy and in the last 10 minutes we were able to win that game.”
The late goals propelled NYCFC to a 2-0 victory over Crew SC July 14.
Torrent, like his predecessor Vieira, is particularly fond of the soccer implemented by Crew SC and their coach Gregg Berhalter. Torrent said he was unaware Berhalter may be a strong candidate to fill the United States men’s national team head coaching vacancy.
“I didn’t know, but I’m very happy for him,” Torrent said. “I love this coach. He’s one of the best in our conference. I think about him as a clever coach, and they like to play good football. I don’t know the other coaches (candidates), but I especially like this coach.”
Torrent will next prepare for two matches in four days, both at Yankee Stadium — New England on Wednesday and Saturday against D.C. United.
New York City is the only MLS side still unbeaten at home this season (10-0-3).