COLUMBUS, Ohio – Once battling with Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls for superiority in the Eastern Conference, New York City FC has now won just one game in six matches, and head coach Dome Torrent is struggling to find answers.
Torrent and NYCFC lost 2-1 away from home to Columbus Crew SC Saturday after leading with just 30 minutes remaining. Columbus scored two goals in three minutes to secure the lead, giving the team their seventh away loss on the season.
The City boss said he was only moderately happy with the first 30 minutes of the game when his team “didn’t play well, but we didn’t play bad.”
From then on, he said, his team was outplayed.
“We played like we were frightened,” he said. “When that happens, you lose control. When you lose control, you have to run a lot and you don’t have the ball and you have to defend.”
Torrent took almost all of the blame for the loss. He said his halftime talk, after which Columbus scored both their goals, wasn’t good enough, and emphasized that he has to be the one to fix the team.
“I didn’t convince my players,” he said. “I’m a boss; I’m a coach. I have the responsibility to find the solution, not the players.”
Part of the team’s struggles has been their consistently leaky defense on the road. The team has allowed an average of more than two goals in each road contest, and have allowed 29 of their 36 goals on the season away from the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.
“I don’t know exactly what happens when we play away,” Torrent said. “We play much, much better when we play in Yankee Stadium. Even with nine players against a (team at) the top of the league in the Red Bulls, we were able to play really well. But when we play away, I don’t know the reason we don’t play the same way.”
Despite their road struggles, NYC had a chance to put real distance between themselves and Columbus in the race for third place in the East. A win would have seen them pull 11 points clear of Columbus with just seven games to play.
But instead, up a goal in the second half, the team couldn’t find a point. And even in that scenario, Torrent said he didn’t feel like it was a missed opportunity for his team because he felt Columbus was always the better team.
“(Columbus) could have scored more goals,” he said. “We were lucky because (with) our second opportunity, we scored a goal. … We need to create more chances if we want to win away. Today, I accept and I recognize that Columbus was much better than us.”