NYCFC kicked off one of their toughest road games of 2018 aiming to extend a run of 398 minutes without conceding a goal in MLS play.
Domènec Torrent’s men rarely looked in danger over the course of the first half, starting strong and asking questions of the Sounders’ backline from the first kick.
Jo Inge Berget, starting for the first time since his recent injury, was close to giving the away team the lead on 14’ when he got in front of his marker at the front post to receive Ben Sweat’s delivery but the ball was shot was deflected wide.
Maxi Moralez smacked the crossbar with an almost-perfect arcing free-kick on 22’ as NYC’s strong start continued but this early good work was undone on 36’ when Torrent’s side conceded for the first time in 434 minutes.
Roldan was the man who got it, taking an excellent first touch and driving past Sean Johnson.
Medina was close to drawing his side level with the first opportunity of the second half but his header cleared the crossbar but the clinical hosts seized the initiative by doubling their lead on 51’ through an unstoppable drive from Svensson which beat Johnson for pace.
With a mountain to climb to prevent a first MLS defeat in a month, City rallied, with Torrent introducing Jonathan Lewis and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi for the final quarter of the game.
The fresh legs made an immediate difference to the flow of the game but it was two men who’d been on all along who combined for the deficit-reducer.
A selfless performance from Berget went rewarded with an assist as he drove past his defender and delivered a cross which just had to be tapped home by Medina for his fifth goal for NYCFC.
With 20’ to go and goal needed to get something out of the game, City committed numbers forward and they were indebted to their goalkeeper for staying in the match on 79’ when Johnson made an incredible save from Nicolas Lodeiro.
Rodney Wallace was introduced for Kwame Awuah as Torrent went for broke but Schipp ended the road team’s resistance on 86’ with a hammer blow into the top corner.
NEW YORK CITY FC HEAD COACH DOMÈNEC TORRENT
On whether the team could have performed better:
“We played well the first half. We played compact. They had problems in between lines that they don’t find the players who play inside because we played really well. We defended well. We defended compact. And after that, we are able to create three or four chances in the first half. But football is when you are more clinical than the opponent. That is football. The football is a goal. You try to score a goal. Sometimes you have the control, you keep the ball all the time and you have the control. But if you are not able to score, that happens. At the end, you lose the game. But I think the difference between this game and the last game we play, for me, in my opinion, is much better. But we lose the game. That is the summary for me. But I am very happy, especially for [Ronald Matarrita] because Mata is coming. He’s another player in this game because he had a lot of problems because he was injured for one month. That was news for us. Okay, I say to them, ‘Okay, eat well, rest well, sleep well, because we have to be ready for the next game.’ That is soccer.”
On why he was happier with this performance than in Orlando:
“I don’t understand the coaches when they say, ‘We won the game, we play well.’ Sometimes it’s not good to say something like that because you confuse your players. We didn’t play well against Orlando, and Orlando deserved to win the game. It’s my opinion. And today, maybe a draw is not bad. Okay, we were similar to Seattle, and the difference is the long travel and the tough field. You play another when you play on synthetic field because if you want to play fast, you need to control. But, okay. MLS is something like that. I accept. I move here, and I have to improve. And the players, of course, because we had many, many problems with the throw-in, for example. The first goal was a throw-in. Okay, we have to improve. It’s the best way to play the next game and then the next game. After that, I have a lot of experience when you lose the game. I say to them, ‘Keep your head up because we have to be very proud.’ Until the last second, they fight for every single ball. That is the way to keep going and to keep going. You have to improve if you’re playing that way.”
NEW YORK CITY FC GOALKEEPER SEAN JOHNSON
On the game and the week overall:
“Obviously a tough week for us. East Coast, West Coast, two games on the road. I thought overall the effort was there from the guys. Everybody that stepped on the field contributed in both games. The first game (at Orlando) I thought we played well in stretches, this game the same thing. The game of soccer sometimes doesn’t go your way. I thought Seattle was pretty clinical in their opportunities. We were unlucky not to put another one in earlier in the first half. I think the game would have changed a lot for us but we were chasing a bit after the first goal, in second (half) we were back in the game, and then they iced it with the third. It is tough, but that is the game of soccer. So, I just look to get back to New York, take a couple days, get guys back to full health and get the travel out of the legs and get ready to go next Saturday.”
NEW YORK CITY FC MIDFIELDER KWAME AWUAH
On his first MLS start…
“I just wanted to say thank you, obviously to the coach for trusting me to play this game. It was a tough game. We flew from Orlando on Friday. Seattle is a good team, and they were a good opponent. I just did what I was supposed to do, followed the instructions. Unfortunate not to get the result. It was mixed emotions. I am still happy that I was able to get my first start. I just gotta keep pushing from here, and just keep learning every practice, and working hard every training session and hopefully seeing where it will go.”
On continue to impress in training..
I think that is the most important part. Just making sure I am doing what I have to do in training. And then whatever the gaffer tells me to do on the field just follow it to the T, and I think that is the most important thing. Don’t stay in my element and play the way I know how to play and just continue from there, try to gain confidence and keep pushing, keep working hard.”
On midfield minutes…
“I just focus on myself. That is how I have been since Patrick was here, since I first came to NYCFC. I just focus on what I have to do as an individual and hopefully the opportunity comes, just be able to be prepared for opportunity, just be prepared as much as possible. Whatever decision the coach makes, he makes, and just move on from it and just keep working hard in training.”
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