Sean Johnson: “I don’t think it’s really a big step backwards for us. It’s more so a wakeup call.” (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)
PORTLAND, Ore. — Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.
New York City FC was bound to lose.
After all, no team in Major League Soccer history has gone through its 34-game regular season undefeated, not even the great Toronto FC of last season.
On Sunday, City (5-1-2) came back down to earth in a 3-0 loss at the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.
“We were punished in moments where we made little mistakes and it’s the first time we’ve really been punished as a team,” NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson said.
The Timbers (2-3-2), off to a stumbling start under the guidance of new coach Giovanni Savarese, who once managed the Cosmos, needed this win badly.
“Credit to Portland. They put away their chances today,” Johnson said. “I thought they didn’t have many shots on target, but the ones they did, they converted.
“There were a lot of positives in the match and we have to take a hard look at the match and analyze what went wrong and what went right. I don’t think it’s really a big step backwards for us. It’s more so a wakeup call. We have a little bit more to work on, actually a lot of things to work on. We can always improve, but on the day they were the better team and they came away with the win.”
NYCFC got off to an awful start, surrendering a pair of first-half goals. The team could never dig itself out of that hole.
Asked if there was anything the team learned about the defeat, Johnson responded, “Our mentality as a group. We knew the first half wasn’t good enough. To go down two goals on the road in a place like this, it’s not easy to come out of that hole. For us to have a bit more bite as a group. We take that responsibility on us as players because we were given everything to be prepared for the match, but we just have to find it within to come out every day and compete the way we train every single day of the week. It wasn’t a match that defines us as a team and we’ll look to improve and more forward for next weekend.”