New York City FC’s early-season odyssey has ended without a regular-season victory.
After six goals in two Concacaf Champions League matches, one in Costa Rica and one in Southern California because of stadium eligibility issues, the reigning MLS Cup champions are scoreless through two 2022 league games.
Still, manager Ronny Deila’s team departed their last of four stops following Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place believing the foundation for more success has been laid, confident the goals will come.
“I think we were much better than them,” Deila said. “We had, I don’t know, six, seven, eight chances. We didn’t take our chances and we gave them maybe one, two.
“It was really good energy. It was a lot of good energy and fight into the team, and also we created enough to win. … We know we have players that will start scoring.”
Vanni Sartini’s Whitecaps were clearly content to sit deep and counter, and the Cityzens were well prepared. While Deiber Caicedo had some moments of menace down the left-hand side in the first half, and Vancouver had control for a brief spell early in the second, there was rarely the feel of danger for the reigning champs.
“We knew exactly how they were gonna play,” Deila said. “It was a lot about balance in the counterattacks. It was about moving the ball well so we get them into the last third as much as possible.”
Captain Maxi Moralez shared similar sentiments to his coach and believes a trip back to the Big Apple is just what the team needs after being on the road for nearly a month.
“We’ve played very well for the last three games, dating back to the Champions League match,” Moralez said, through an interpreter. “We’ve put in some good performances, and now it’s time to go home.”'
With Leg 1 of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series against Guatemala's Comunicaciones scheduled for Tuesday, NYCFC will have little time to rest.
But mentally, the Cityzens will know they’ve already finished their West Coast MLS trips for the season. They won’t venture beyond the Central Time Zone for the remainder of the league campaign.
And after a journey that began when preseason camp broke in early January – only weeks after lifting their first major trophy in December – they’ll finally be home.
“I think right now it’s important for us to go home and mentally recharge and spend some time with our families,” Moralez said. “We’ve been away from home for a really long time. Different travel, time difference. So kudos to the team and everyone else for staying mentally strong.”