When New York City FC first played at the Citrus Bowl, it was a historic spectacle in March.
Seven months later, NYCFC again couldn’t hold onto a lead, this time conceding twice after halftime in a 2-1 loss Friday night.
“Credit to our players. I think they really put a lot into it,” NYCFC coach Jason Kreis said. “I wish we could have walked out of here with at least a point.”
After three consecutive wins, NYCFC fell on the road for the second straight game. Both times the expansion side had the lead at the break.
“I’m not quite certain we’re doing well enough from that point on,” Kreis said.
With his team’s playoff hopes dashed, Kreis spoke during the week about giving a chance to some players who hadn’t found the field of late. That includes central defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who played for the first time since coming off at halftime of a 4-4 draw against Toronto FC on July 12.
Watson-Siriboe partnered with Jefferson Mena and scored his first career Major League Soccer goal on the stroke of halftime to give NYCFC a 1-0 lead at the break.
“I’m pleased we scored a goal off a dead ball. I thought we were under it for large stretches of the first half, as we knew we would be,” Kreis said. “Orlando threw a lot at us in that game, caused a lot of trouble, put the ball in the box quite often and I was pleased that we dealt with it for the majority of the first half and pleased we walked into the locker room 1-0 up.”
But as was the case in a 2-1 loss at D.C. United two weeks ago, NYCFC found themselves under immense pressure throughout much of the match.
“I think we just absorbed a lot of pressure all game, probably too much in both halves and I think the dam kind of broke a little bit in the second half,” said Tommy McNamara, who earned his first start since Aug. 23.
“It’s crazy how the second goal happened. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it,” Kreis said. “The ball seems to continually bounce the wrong way for us.”
NYCFC closes out its inaugural season at home next Sunday against the New England Revolution. The playoffs are no longer a possibility, but defender Chris Wingert said there is still plenty to play for.
“I think the best way to reward the fans for their great support all year is to give them a victory in our final home game,” Wingert said.