Since his arrival at New York City FC last June, head coach Dome Torrent has often proclaimed, “I need time.”
His preference for what has been commonly dubbed “tiki-taka” soccer was evident in Wednesday night’s victory at D.C. United in the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup.
The 2-1 triumph propelled the Pigeons to a quarterfinal match at Orlando City on July 10.
Tiki-taka can be defined as a Spanish style, characterized by short passing and player movement to maintain possession. It has often been associated with the Pep Guardiola era of coaching at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Torrent was Guardiola’s top assistant at each of those clubs before his transfer to the Bronx. With a full preseason and consistent training weeks, the Girona native is beginning to observe the rhythm and control that he has sought.
“Not just for the result because I think the players played really well,” Torrent said with a satisfied smile. “I like to have the control because I’m used to working in that way the last 11 years with my former teams – so why not here?”
With Maxi Moralez, Keaton Parks, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Alexandru Mitriță and Héber managing space with short, crisp passing, D.C. United struggled to dispossess their visitors at Audi Field.
“I say many times that the best way to defend is to keep the ball, pass the ball and take the ball,” Torrent said. “You have to defend with the ball. If you want to defend without the ball you are trouble 100-percent against D.C.”
The resulting 20-8 advantage in shots forced D.C. United goalkeeper Chris Seitz to make seven saves and prevent a more lopsided score line.
“We played for the last month with personality,” Torrent said. “When I say personality, sometimes players when they play away play a different way – a little scared. Today, we take the ball and pass the ball and control the game.”
NYCFC has a 4-0-2 mark in their last six road matches and are in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
The last defeat for the Pigeons – the only loss of the season – was on March 29 at Toronto FC. City is off until June 29 when they host Philadelphia in a regular MLS match.