HARRISON, N.J. – It was another loss to the New York Red Bulls, the third in three meetings this season for New York City FC
But the focus after a 2-0 loss Sunday night at Red Bull Arena wasn’t on the lack of effort as it was following the first two defeats.
For NYCFC coach Jason Kreis, it was about two things – missed early opportunities and questionable calls by the officials.
Yes, Kreis admitted his patchwork backline made mistakes on both Red Bulls goals.
On Bradley Wright-Phillips' opener in the 21st minute, centerback Jefferson Mena failed to clear Kemar Lawrence’s cross which led to an easy tap-in from the edge of the six.
And on Felipe’s insurance goal five minutes from full time, full back Andoni Iraola allowed the Brazilian midfielder a step inside before beating Josh Saunders inside the near post.
But Kreis was more upset about referee Ismail Elfath’s decision on the play leading up to the goal, when Mix Diskerud was called for a foul near midfield.
“The frustration I showed on the first goal was actually because their player fouled us, but the referee gave them the ball,” Kreis said. “It was a ridiculous call and it led directly to their goal. From my point of view he had a very, very poor night.”
Frank Lampard also expressed frustration over the officiating. In each half NYCFC players, Tommy McNamara and Lampard, went down in the box following a challenge but were not given a penalty kick.
“I’m pretty sure we should have had a penalty at least out of the couple of decisions that were there,” Lampard said. “Little decisions on certain nights go against you and you lose the game.”
It was the first time this season that NYCFC had all three designated players – David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Lampard – on the field to start a game and it was Lampard, who made his first MLS start, who rolled a shot wide of the far post in the third minute.
“I think particularly from my point of view I’m going to get fitter and stick those chances away that didn’t quite go in today,” Lampard said. “I’m sure the three of us can help contribute and the whole team can improve in the weeks to come.”
Diskerud followed with a golden opportunity when he latched onto an Angelino cross and put a full volley on frame. But Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles came up with the save in the eighth minute.
“I had a chance to put it in, but a good save by the goalie,” Diskerud said. “I could have maybe put it down instead, but they scored on their chances and we don’t. That’s how soccer is.”