Jack Harrison: “We have a good game plan going into this weekend. If we stick by it, hopefully, we will be able to create a lot of chances and score a lot from there as well.”
By Michael Lewis
QUEENS, N.Y. – Given a reprieve from sitting out the regular-season finale, Jack Harrison’s presence at Citi Field could give New York City FC’s attack a much-needed boost against Columbus Crew SC Sunday.
Harrison was given his marching orders in the 26th minute of City’s 2-1 loss at the New England Revolution last Sunday, which was rescinded by an independent panel Tuesday.
“I was thrilled, really that I would get a chance to play in the last game of the season,” he said at Citi Field Friday morning.
Head coach Patrick Vieira, who complained about the red card publicly before the team filed an appeal, will plan to try to devise a plan to snap City out of its recent scoring doldrums.
“Of course, when you look at how Jack played this year for us and how it is for the team, the way we want to play the game, it was good to see this red card turned over,” he said. “And he was happy, we were happy and the football club was happy.”
Given the team’s scoring woes of late, NYCFC needs all the help it can muster when it comes to putting the ball in the net. And losing someone with Harrison’s skills and production would have put the team behind the eight ball.
Harrison, whose 10 goals rank him behind only David Villa (20) on the squad, connected for a brace in a 3-2 triumph at Columbus April 29.
Including a 1-1 draw with the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena Aug. 25, City has celebrated only seven goals in its past eight games. The team is only 2-2-4 since then and has accrued only 10 points out of a possible 24. Moreover, in NYCFC’s last six matches, the team has won only once, a 1-0 victory at the Montreal Impact Sept. 27 while scoring five goals en route to a 1-2-3 record.
Translated: the lack of scoring has put NYCFC’s hold on second place in the Eastern Conference and a bye in the mid-week play-in games of the MLS playoffs in jeopardy entering Sunday’s home regular-season finale against Columbus Crew SC here.
“We have a good game plan going into this weekend,” he said. “If we stick by it, hopefully, we will be able to create a lot of chances and score a lot from there as well.”
Asked if he thought there was enough chances being created, Harrison replied, “I think we have a good game plan. We’ll have to stick with it and we’ll see what happens this weekend.”
Forward Rodney Wallace, back from helping Costa Rica reach the World Cup, is more concerned about the team earning three points rather than scoring three goals.
“I think we have the chance to lock the second place,” he said. “I think that’s our main focus right now. I think the result overpowers a lot … I think it’s just important for us to focus on the three points.”