NEW YORK – Forget Sleepless in Seattle, Jason Kreis is sleepless in the Bronx.
After having almost nothing but success during his last six years at Real Salt Lake, Kreis admitted he is struggling to grasp New York City FC’s growing pains in its first season of existence following a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Yankee Stadium Sunday night.
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“It just doesn’t sit well with me,” Kreis said. “I guess I didn’t realize it would be this difficult. Maybe I forgot how very hard it is to build a team in this league and have success on a consistent basis.”
Statistically and stylistically, NYCFC have given its new fan base the attacking soccer promised in the preseason, but the results have been startlingly elusive.
In the first half on Sunday, NYCFC took the game to a Seattle Sounders club that Kreis called a model franchise in Major League Soccer. New York had more shots on goal, more dangerous opportunities, more corners, and more possession.
And yet, when they regrouped in the locker room, NYCFC was trailing, 1-0, on the first of Obafemi Martins’ two goals.
“For me, we were the much better team in the first 45 minutes of the game, but again we don’t score the goal,” Kreis lamented. “Against one of the best teams in the league, that has been together for a very long time, we dictated the tempo of the game, we created the majority of the chances, but at the end it’s not enough. That won’t help me sleep tonight.”
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Nor will the fact that NYCFC, which lost its third straight game and saw its winless streak stretch to seven games, conceded the eventual game-winner just four minutes after Mehdi Ballouchy equalized, snapping a 266-minute goalless drought.
A sequence that started with Mix Diskerud tracking back and winning the ball in his defensive third ended with the Moroccan midfielder clinically finishing with his left from the top of the 18-yard box. But that was all for naught four minutes later when United States captain Clint Dempsey put away his fifth goal of the year with a perfectly placed rolling shot through traffic that wrong-footed diving NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
“It was very frustrating,” defender Chris Wingert said. “After we had done so much to tie it and Mehdi scored a great goal. It certainly changed the momentum.”
Martins put the finishing touches on Seattle’s third consecutive win in the 66th minute, cementing yet another frustrating defeat for NYCFC.
“A lot of people told me it’s not always easy with expansion teams. It takes time to settle and build a team,” Diskerud said. “I feel like we’re playing a lot of good soccer, but of course at times there’s going to be ups and downs."