NEW YORK – Jason Kreis has a difficult balancing act ahead of him for the final third of the season.
The New York City FC head coach has brought on five new players during the summer transfer window – all of whom featured in the starting XI in their 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night. While he knows the group needs time to jell, the expansion team is running out of time in its search for a playoff berth.
“Unfortunately God didn’t give me the gift to speed up the clock,” Kreis said. “I’ll just continue doing what I believe is best for the guys. I think the training sessions are important, the video analysis is important, the time together is important, but the matches are the most important things of all.”
Following Sunday night’s loss, NYCFC find themselves four points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with 11 games left to play. Montreal, who are currently in the sixth and final spot, have two games in hand.
“I believe in my heart this roster is capable of a lot of things,” Kreis said. “As I said before, I believe we’ve got an opportunity still to make the playoffs. I believe if we do there’s going to be a lot of people nervous to play us. This is a talented group that just needs time together.”
Of NYCFC’s final 11 matches, seven are against conference opposition. That includes a quick turnaround to take on top-of-the-table D.C. United on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium (7 pm ET; MLS LIVE)
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“It is very good. We need to play, we need to win,” midfielder Mix Diskerud said of playing United so soon after losing to the Red Bulls. “We’re desperate. Everyone is here for the right reasons. We want to go and win three points and start pushing up the league.”
While NYCFC left New Jersey disappointed in their result, one positive was having all five new signings in the lineup for the first time this season. Designated Player Frank Lampard made his first start since joining the team a month ago, joining Angelino, Andoni Iraola, Andrea Pirlo and Jefferson Mena. And they remain unified in the goal of reaching the post-season.
“I know we need to win soon, but I’m very confident in the ability we’ve got here,” Lampard said. “Once its all jelling and we’re all fit we can go and win the games we need to get into the playoffs.”