When teams win on the road in Major League Soccer, no matter how poor the level of play, the familiar coaching chords in the postgame press conference resemble relief and satisfaction.
“It’s always tough on the road, so we’re just happy to escape with three points,” Coach X might say.
Dome Torrent’s remarks after New York City FC’s underwhelming 2-0 win at Orlando City on Thursday night were absent of fulfillment.
Torrent’s first words: “I am not happy. Just to be able to win. I’m not happy with the performance if you want to win MLS.”
With nearly 60 percent possession while out shooting (10-5) and outscoring (2-0) Orlando City in the first half, New York City crumbled after the interval.
Orlando City managed 16 shots on goal in the second half, but Sean Johnson (five saves), the cross bar (three times) and the goal post (twice) were saviors for NYCFC.
“They could have scored three or four goals,” Torrent said. “It’s not the best way to play in MLS if you are trying to win MLS. If not, it’s ok.”
Although it was clear that the lack of quality was not acceptable to the new coach, who now owns a 5-1 record but challenged his players to be superior.
“I’m a fighter and I need to convince my players that they can play much better,” Torrent said. “You can finish in the the seventh position or the sixth position. For me, I want to play much better.”
Fullback Anton Tinnerholm, who finished his fourth goal of the season to close out the scoring, told Pro Soccer USA the team understood Torrent’s message.
“We talked about it in the locker room,” Tinnerholm said. “Of course we are happy with the win but we can’t play like we did in the second half. If we continue like that we are going to concede a lot of goals. We have to thank Sean for the clean sheet and the victory.”
Said Torrent: “People say, ‘four clean sheets,’ but its not deserved for us, four clean sheets,” Torrent said. “It’s my opinion.”
Which is the lone judgement that matters for a New York City squad that won its first road match since March 31.