ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — The sun was shining on Etihad City Football Academy — New York City Football Club's training facility —Tuesday morning. It wasn’t just that it was a picturesque spring day in Rockland County, but there was also a lighter feeling among the players, an air of confidence among the warm sun and blue skies.
That’s what the first win of the 2019 season gets you, especially for a team with expectations as high as NYCFC.
“You know what happens when you win one game. You can be training in the same way, but everybody is smiling, you are more comfortable in the facility,” NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said. “But believe me, they play in the same way. Sometimes, the soccer is not fair with the players, not with the coaches. They deserve it more and more, to get more points.”
Torrent said the team is training the same way after the impressive 2-0 win over D.C. United Sunday at Audi Field as they did before it. But the soccer gods, he said, have been cruel. A rare gaffe by Sean Johnson at Minnesota probably cost them two points. And he had similar feelings when Maxi Moralez blasted his penalty shot off the post late in the first half against D.C. United.
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“No, I don’t know what happened this year,” Torrent said was his initial reaction. “But after that, if we are not able to win the game, the people don’t think about we missed a penalty, it’s about you are not able to win this game.”
Torrent said results are also what coaches are judged by, a fact he accepts and brought up before the D.C. United game, acknowledging he felt the heat was on him.
“If you are not able to win games, you are in trouble,” he said Tuesday. “It’s normal here, normal in Italy, Spain and France. The pressure, you have to have a clear conscious about that. I say, OK, I thought we’re working in the best way. And after that, the results are the results.”
While he said his players have more confidence after the win, he also reminded them it was just one victory. Important games against conference opponents are coming thick and fast, starting Wednesday against the Chicago Fire (7 pm ET | TV & streaming info), followed by Orlando City SC on Saturday (1 pm ET | TV & streaming info).
Torrent said the focus has quickly shifted to scouting the Fire, but he is very familiar with their newest signing in Nicolas Gaitan, both from his time with Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors and when he featured for Portugal’s Benfica.
“I knew this player 11 years ago when he played with Boca Juniors,” Torrent said. “I was working for Barcelona and we were interested in this player. We played against him in the Champions League, Benfica-Bayern Munich. He has quality.”