NYCFC look within after "embarrassing" NY derby loss

HARRISON, N.J. — When the post-NY Derby haze clears, New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira will shift from frustration to reflection.

While there were few answers as to why NYCFC didn’t match the New York Red Bulls’ intensity in the moments following a stunning 4-0 drubbing Saturday afternoon, the search for the ‘why?’ and ‘how?” will no doubt intensify this week.

“When you play the derby, you know that you will have to compete,” Vieira said after the game. “We know the way that they are playing, and it will be important for myself, but overall for the players, as well, to reflect on that. Because if we want to bounce back, if we want to keep doing well in this league, we have to change the attitude, because the attitude wasn't good tonight.”

Vieira said if he could, he would have changed all 10 field players at halftime because he was so upset by their performance. He did make a double switch at the half, taking off defenders Anton Tinnerholm and Maxime Chanot for Sebastien Ibeagha and Ebenezer Ofori, switching to a three-man backline.

His third and final change came in the 66th minute, when he took off David Villa for Rodney Wallace. With the Red Bulls shutting off his service, Villa was held without a shot as a starter for the first time since a 1-0 loss at New England on July 18, 2015. And his casual pass attempt back to Maxi Moralez in the midfield was picked off by Tyler Adams to start the sequence for the Red Bulls' first goal.

“I don't want to put fingers on one player or two players or just the leadership of the team. I think it's the team overall,” Vieira said. “I think we have to reflect on our performance because at that level, it is unacceptable to go on the field and the opposite team wanted it more than us.”

Villa wasn’t available for comment in the NYCFC locker room postgame, but the players who were interviewed spoke of embarrassment, and of lessons learned.

“We can’t let that happen again,” midfielder Alex Ring said. “We have to learn our lesson from this game. We deserved to lose because, like the coach said, this is an embarrassment. We have to take responsibility, forget about this game over the next couple of days and then see that this never happens again.”

The alarming thing for NYCFC is that it’s happened before – just two weeks ago in Portland – where they lost 3-0 to the Timbers, though they responded to that with a solid 3-1 win over FC Dallas.

“I don’t doubt that we’ll have a response to this game come next weekend,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “I think we’re very far away from where we want to be as a group and today was evident of that. We’ve obviously done some good things this year but by no means can we take our foot off the gas pedal. It’s cliché, but it’s a bit of a humbling one today.”