Can Adding Soccer Vets Save Season?
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX SPORTS)- As August has begun, the MLS regular season is approaching its final third of the season. The result of each match has grown in importance. A win, which is worth three points in the standings, has become an imperative for each club as it takes the pitch as many of the clubs are so tightly bunched.
NYC’s home loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon hurt dearly as NYC, Montreal and Orlando city each had 24 points before the games began. At the end of the day, NYC trailed its two Eastern Conference rivals by three points as the other two clubs were victorious.
Despite the defeat, NYC fans are hoping that its recent acquisitions and international stars will help it qualify for the upcoming playoffs. Reminiscent of the Cosmos in the 1970’s, when they signed international superstars Pele, franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto and others to gain the look and success of an All-Star team, NYC is becoming the home for veteran international greats. On Saturday, David Villa of Spain, Andrea Pirlo of Italy and Frank Lampard of England were on the pitch on Yankee Stadium together for the first time.
Although all three are far superior to most players in the MLS, they are veterans in their first year in the MLS and on an expansion teams. Lampard was in his first match as a substitution for only 25 minutes. Pirlo was only making his second appearance with the club. The Spaniard honestly noted NYC’s current weaknesses, “It takes time to build a team and to create closeness. The main thing we need to work on is defense. Today was not a great game. As time goes on, we’ll be better and better.”
The visitors to Yankee Stadium scored their first goal within the first five minutes and took a 2-0 advantage in 31 minutes. NYC coach Jason Kreis spoke critically of his club’s play in the first half, “The performance in the first 45 minutes was poor. We’re disappointed in that.”
NYC had to play catch-up throughout the entire match. A penalty shot by Villa in the 68th minutes was the first score for the home team. A penalty kick by Ignacio Piatti, his second goal of the match, gave the Canadians a two goal lead, which was sufficient to give them the win, 3-2.
NYC has improved its scoring during the past several matches, but its defense has faltered. NYC has both scored and given up 11 goals in its last four matches.
On Sunday, August 9, NYC will travel to New Jersey to face the red Bulls, who have defeated NYC twice this season.