Jack Harrison looks to snap out of late slump, help NYCFC comeback vs. Crew

Jack Harrison - New York City FC - Close up

NEW YORK – Whether he’s carrying a knock or he’s just knackered, Jack Harrison’s production has tailed off at the worst possible time for New York City FC.

The young winger had 10 goals and six assists during his sophomore campaign, but he has scored just once in NYCFC’s last eight games. In a 4-1 loss to Columbus Crew SC in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series on Tuesday night, Harrison managed just two shots, neither on frame, before being subbed off for Sean Okoli after 79 minutes.

“It’s been a long season,” Harrison said after the club trained at Yankee Stadium Friday ahead of Sunday’s second leg (5 pm ET; ESPN in the US | TSN1, TVAS in Canada). “I’ve been trying to do stuff this week just to make sure I feel good and that I’m ready for Sunday.”

For NYCFC to have a chance at a miraculous comeback against Columbus, Harrison will need to break out of his funk in a big way. NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira is confident Harrison and fellow winger Rodney Wallace, himself in a bit of a slump, will do just that.

“In football I always say what is really important is to create those chances,” Vieira said. “Then to score the goals, you will do it because of the quality of the players. We keep creating those chances, which for me is the most important. Then to put it in the back of the net, they will do it. They’ve been doing it before and they will do it again.”

For a team up against it, Harrison and his teammates were loose at training Friday morning. There’s no talk about a second straight year of elimination at first asking. There’s 90 minutes left and they believe they still have a chance.

“If you think about it too much and you stress about it, you’re only putting more pressure on yourself,” Harrison said. “With a relaxed setting, we want everyone feeling good going in to this. We believe as a team we can win. If we just carry on that way, we’ll be alright.”

The key, Harrison said, is to score early and put the pressure squarely on the visitors.

“I feel confident. I believe in the team,” Harrison said. “We can definitely achieve going through to the next round. I think if you look at the last game, we had a couple chances early on and I think if we put them away it’s a completely different game.”