New York City FC entered the October international break perhaps hoping some time away could solve their recent offensive struggles.
NYCFC’s scoreless streak has extended to four full games and 419 total minutes, pushing their winless streak to five games. Chance creation was an issue, as Deila's group generated just 0.8 expected goals (xG) and was outshot 11-6 as they struggled to confront RBNY's high-press system.
“We have lost a bit of confidence in the last third of the pitch. We have to get that back again,” manager Ronny Deila said.
“Against Nashville, we create a lot of chances. We conceded very little,” he continued, referencing their early-October 0-0 draw. “That’s just how we need to play. And of course when we create six or seven good chances against Nashville we have to take our chances. I know our level when we are good. We saw it against the Nashville team.”
The defeat leaves NYCFC at eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings, one point and place beneath the line to reach the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
They’re also narrowly clinging to the second tiebreaker (goal differential) to edge the ninth-place Red Bulls, who are unbeaten with five wins in their last seven matches.
Deila made clear Sunday’s result wasn’t about his team’s effort level. But he also conceded they're struggling to solve opponents that freely cede possession, as RBNY did after midfielder Cristian Casseres Jr. gave the hosts a third-minute lead. NYCFC generated only two high-quality chances, Santiago Rodriguez's volley moments before halftime that Carlos Coronel denied from close range and then Malte Amundsen's late blast off the crossbar.
“We need to get the width within the play because we have the wingers inside a lot, to switch the play and get width and play it simple,” Deila said. “It’s also a mind game, thinking about defending well and at the same time attacking and find the balance between things. And we did that really good against Nashville and many times this year, so it’s small details that will get us on the right path again.”
NYCFC center back Alex Callens, who played the full 90 minutes Sunday after doing the same in all three of Peru’s World Cup Qualifiers this window, is confident there will be a response that pushes NYCFC into the postseason.
“We have a good team. We have a lot of good players,” Callens said through an interpreter. “These last five games we’re going to play our hearts out. It’s not over yet.”