Orangeburg, NY – On July 3, New York City FC defeated Seattle 3-0 at Yankee Stadium to extend its league-leading unbeaten streak to 12 matches.
City has buckled with three losses and two wins since that mid-week triumph over the Sounders. The most recent loss coming on the road over the weekend 3-1 against Real Salt Lake.
Head coach Dome Torrent said his team must return to the methods that led to the positive stretch of games.
“We have to recover our feeling from one month ago,” Torrent told Pro Soccer USA after Tuesday’s training session. “In my opinion we played much better, we played organized, we respect the position. The last three or four games we were able to win some games, but we didn’t play really well.”
The boys from the Bronx outscored their opponents 23-8 during the stretch without a defeat. Torrent referenced three road matches – beginning with an April 21st contest in the nation’s capital – that represented the apotheoses of his style demands.
“I remember in DC especially in the second half, for me we were playing in the right shape and the right timing,” Torrent said in reference to the 2-0 victory. “When you make short passes then in the right moment you can play long. I remember we play against DC, against Galaxy, against Montreal I was very happy – we played really, really well.”
City was also effective in consecutive home victories against FC Cincinnati (5-2), first-place Philadelphia (4-2) and Sporting KC (3-1), although Torrent seeks a more thorough approach from his players.
“Even against Kansas City we played 20-25 minutes really well,” Torrent said. “After that, the players moved a lot and when that happened, we lost our position and when we have to react quickly to win the ball we are not in the right place on the pitch. You cannot move all the time. You have to respect the position.”
In the most recent struggle against RSL, Torrent was unable to get a response from his team in the second half with the score level at 1-1.
“At halftime, I said to them, ‘You have to play short. If you play long ball, forget about it, they will kill us,’” Torrent said. “And 100% that happened.
“When you play long ball, it’s impossible for the players in the middle, Ringy and (Ebenezer Ofori) to recover the ball. The distance is so long to recover the second ball. The best way to defend is when you have the ball. I think I’ve convinced them, but it sometimes happens. Salt Lake played much better than us and had more energy.”
NYCFC captain Alex Ring said the team “didn’t play football” in that match.
“It pisses me off more than anything to be in between all the time,” Ring said. “In the second half, we’re just playing long balls.”
Torrent anticipates that his side – ranked third in the league overall in points-per-game – will continue to progress as it prepares for the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
“We are close,” Torrent said. “I’m not angry with them. I’m very happy with the players. The attitude is unbelievable, but we have to recover that feeling when we have the ball.”