New York City FC: Road draw a bit concerning despite recent form

New York City head coach Ronny Deila shouts to his team during the first half against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
New York City head coach Ronny Deila shouts to his team during the first half against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Another week, another performance that defies logic from New York City FC. A 2-2 draw at Toronto FC on Saturday is certainly not a bad result for NYCFC but a second straight underwhelming performances gives some pause in light of this squad’s recent results.

Now unbeaten in their last five games, New York City FC has secured consecutive draws against lesser competition. Up 2-0 heading into halftime, two goals allowed in 10 minutes following the break proved to be a disaster for the City club.

Immediately after the match, NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila was uncertain what happened in the 10 minutes after halftime that allowed Toronto FC to get back into the game and share the points from Saturday night.

“It’s impossible for me to say right now. We have to look at it one more time. They played good. They are a good team. We had a fantastic first half. I will focus on that.,” Deila said.

“I think we also came back into the game the last 20 minutes. Had some good subs come on and get into the game again. That was really, really good. They scored on their two chances and the stadium goes with them, they get more energy, belief. It was a tough second half, but there is so much positive with this game in the first half–the pressing, the play, the goals…looked like a top team. It’s about doing that for 90 minutes.”

New York City FC opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Santiago Rodriguez nabbed his second MLS goal in his first league start. Then Ismael Tajouri-Shradi added another seven minutes later to give the visitors a dream start on the road.

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New York City FC’s solid form of late

Their recent hot spell began when New York City FC won three straight games starting with 1-0 win over CF Montreal on July 21. During those three matches, they scored 10 goals and conceded just once.

But in their last two games, NYCFC has drawn against the lowly Chicago Fire and now a Toronto FC side that has been disappointing this year. Unbeaten in five isn’t a bad thing, but these last two draws leave a bit of concern about how good this New York City FC side is right now.

Clearly talented, but lacking a killer instinct to say the least. And with the Eastern Conference tightening and sides like Atlanta United surprising this past weekend, the past two results are certainly a worrying point for New York City FC as they hold onto third place in the conference.

Those 10 minutes after halftime burned NYCFC after a start to the match where they were clearly the more proactive side.

“They came out on the front foot. They made some changes, put a few guys higher up the pitch. We could have been better on the ball,” NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson said after the match.

“They had a good spell of possession there, and some good moments when they got behind our back line. Turning us over in good spaces. Hats off to them for how they came out in the second half. It’s up to us to recognize that and make the adjustments and weather some tough periods of the game. There are going to be moments when the other team has the upper hand, but unfortunately that span we conceded two goals in the time period. It’s a learning experience for us moving forward.”