New York City FC: Scoring woes continue against Columbus Crew SC

New York City FC (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
New York City FC (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

New York City FC again struggled with scoring in loss against the Crew

On Sunday, New York City FC flew to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew SC.  Facing them for the third time in 2020, both sides had 1-0 wins at home.  Hence, both had the drive to get the win and claim bragging rights for the series.

Plus, while NYCFC tends to struggle in Columbus, the Crew were in the midst of a four-game winless streak.  The Pigeons hoped to pounce on their opponent’s recent bad luck but unfortunately fell short once again.  Despite a fighting attempt, a late stoppage-time goal in the second half led the New York side to lose 3-1.

Arguably, the defense played well, with the exception of the goals.  First, it was the goal by Crew’s midfielder Artur in the 26th minute that went by them.  Some players fell asleep in the box, while others like Keaton Parks could not clear the ball away.  Then in the 50th minute, no one was defending Pedro Santos, so he had a clear chance, and scored the Crew’s second goal.  Finally, the penalty kick sealed the deal, where Sean Johnson made the save but Gyasi Zardes scored on the follow-through.

New York City FC needs to find consistency when it comes to scoring

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Otherwise, NYCFC kept the goal-hungry Crew at bay throughout the rest of the fixture, and Sean Johnson made another six saves to increase his tally.  In fact, without the keeper, this result would have been much more lopsided.

Furthermore, the possession game and keeping the ball in the attacking third limited the Columbus Crew and their opportunities.  One can only wonder where the competition would have ended without Johnson, and if Columbus led in possession instead.

Meanwhile, like the Orlando match, New York City FC looked promising in the attack.  They had numerous chances, with 17 shots and six on goal.  Again, they held much of the possession and kept the ball in the attacking half.  Score line-wise, Columbus deserved the win.  Excluding the goals, NYCFC looked to be the more competent and skilled side.  But once again, they struggled to score.

With all the shots this team had, one would think they would at least have another goal.  But instead, the goal from Valentín Castellanos off a corner kick remained the only one.  These are a group of players who should be scoring, but instead, they are inconsistent and struggle often.  This is especially relevant against the better teams.  NYCFC now have just one point out of the last nine, and these were all matches against those in the top half of the Eastern Conference.

Moreover, there were plenty of missed opportunities.  For example, in the 45th minute, the Pigeons had a free-kick.  Defender Maxime Chanot headed the ball down into the box, and it moved toward Jesús Medina.  The Designated Player then shot the ball over the bar, despite the open opportunity.  If he would have shot the ball on target, then the Pigeons would have had a decent shot to score from the free-kick.

Missed opportunities and poor finishing again hurt New York City FC.  Like the game against the New England Revolution, Sunday’s fixture raises the questions of why they cannot score.  It is frustrating there are no answers, for this is a team that has goal scorers amongst them, even without a true striker or center forward.

Additionally, every game where NYCFC play poorly, or play well but struggle to score, leads to fans wanting a new head coach.  It has been said too many times, but this team is too talented to even sit mid-table during a hectic and not normal 2020 season.  Therefore, as the season goes on, it looks worse and worse for Ronny Deila.  Unless the Pigeons finally add goals, continue the promising performances, and win, then it would not be shocking to see him relieved of head coaching duties at the season’s end.

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Time is ticking, the season is winding down, and New York City FC continues to be inconsistent with scoring.  Something must change, or otherwise, the season will end sooner rather than later.  Nonetheless, there is no doubt the players do not want that to happen.  In that case, if Deila’s unable to solve the scoring woes, then the team should take control and figure it out themselves.  With two of their final four matches against top Eastern Conference sides, there is no other choice: NYCFC must find their scoring boots.