Ronny Deila certainly did not like what he saw at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Two games, one point, zero wins.
Yes, the Hudson River Derby series was an absolute disaster for New York City FC.
The Cityzens had a grand opportunity to take some big steps toward the MLS Cup playoffs and solidify itself near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. But they botched the opportunity over a four-day span against the team that had been struggling during the summer.
It started Wednesday with a 1-1 draw against the Red Bulls, who connected for the penalty-kick equalizer 12 minutes into stoppage time at Red Bull Arena.
On Saturday night, the visitors rubbed it in, adding insult to injury as Bronx native Omir Fernandez scored the lone goal in a 1-0 result for the Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium.
“The last few games we should have won,” head coach Ronny Deila said. “Today we were not happy with this performance and weren’t at our best. The two other games I think we played really well. It’s not like a pattern that we play bad, we simply haven’t gotten enough points and we know that was a different situation on Wednesday. I’m not too concerned by anything; things go up and down in a season and I think we just have to keep focused and be clear minded to get the best out of the squad. We can play good football.”
NYCFC took no offense in Saturday encounter.
“Overall, we didn’t create enough,” Deila said. “We had our chances in the end and we could’ve had two goals, but we didn’t take them. In the end we are disappointed in our performance, and we feel we can do better than this. We lost three points today and we need to understand that. Although we are ahead in the league over them, we still need to get back on a winning track on Wednesday. We need to get over it as quickly as possible, we have a lot of disappointed people in the dressing room, of course.”
The Red Bulls did a marvelous job in shutting down the NYCFC attack, especially Taty Castellanos, who has a team-hhigh 13 goals.
“I think they closed us really well when we tried to build up,” right back Anton Tinnerholm said. “We had a hard time finding how we were going to build up. They closed down my side and let us play on the other side and then they went pressing pretty high on Gudi [Gudmundur Thorarinsson] and made it hard, so we ended up with the long ball. They also won most of the second balls. They were good at pressing today and we struggled a little building up.
“So, they won that part of the game and especially the second balls as well. These games against the Red Bulls is just a war. They play a different style. It’s just them in the league who play like this and on a small pitch like this, today they managed it better than we did.”