Charlotte FC midfielder Justin Meram (22) argues with New York City FC midfielder Richard Ledezma (20). (Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Exhibit A on New York City FC’s season came in its 3-2 loss at Charlotte FC on Saturday night.
That would be defending set piece situations.
Two of Charlotte’s goals came off of dead-ball situations.
“The dead ball cost us a lot. We need to correct those errors because they’re costing us a lot away from home and we need those points to get into the playoffs.”
Enzo Copetti’s second goal came in the 39th minute, when he headed in Justin Meram’s corner kick, and NYCFC’s Richy Ledezma’s own goal in the 74th minute came when he headed in a free kick for the deciding score.
“We want to be better on set-play,” head coach Nick Cushing said. “It’s the one area that if we’re better at it in this game, we win the game. So, he’ll [Ledezma] be down but I imagine the same as the other guys, they’re down because we lost the game.”
The Cityzens (4-4-3, 15 points) are winless in six road games (0-4-2) this season.
“I was pleased with that performance, and I was pleased with the desire and soul of the team,” Cushing said. “I am, of course, not happy with conceding two goals on the road from set-play. You can see if you concede two goals on the road from set play you don’t win football games.”
Asked if the team has a tendency to switch off at inopportune moments, Santi Rodriguez replied, “No, honestly, I couldn’t tell you what the issue was to concede after we scored. I think that today the dead balls, free kicks, and corners impacted us, but these are things to focus on and be more attentive at. We must think that we can do better and be united when it’s time to defend so this doesn’t [happen] again.
“In the two moments we were able to tie the game they scored on us again, that makes it an uphill battle the rest of the game, especially if we can’t at the very least, maintain the tie so that we can look to go up in the game.”