It was only a matter of time before the growing pains set in. After an impressive 2-0 win against the New England Revolution during the second week of the season, NYCFC fans have yet to taste victory again. Horrendous goalkeeping errors, a lack of cohesion in the middle of the park and an unfit David Villa have proven to be a recipe for disaster and the new team from the Big Apple will be hungry to end their six-game winless streak when a streaking Seattle Sounders side travels to Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Last week, NYC’s fatal moment came from a self-inflicted wound. Ryan Meara completely botched a seemingly routine play in the penalty area leading to one of the easiest goals that David Accam will ever score in his career. The New York backline just seems incapable of holding onto a clean sheet. Not since a scoreless draw against Colorado in March has Jason Kreis’ squad kept their opponents off the board. Late strikes have been the death of the new club. In three of the past four games, the opposition has scored in the last 15 minutes of the match; including a heartbreaking strike from Philadelphia in the 92nd minute to seal another defeat for New York.
The absence of David Villa leading the frontline has seen the offensive production from New York come to a screeching halt. In the two games since his injury, NYCFC has yet to score a goal. The Spanish striker leads the powerless New York attack with a measly two goals, and only three other players have managed to find the back of the net. After the first eight games of the season, NYCFC has managed to find the net just five times, and have been shutout four of those games. If the team from the East has any hope of winning their first game since March, someone is going to have to step up and shoulder the scoring responsibility during Villa’s absence.
While New York has struggled, Seattle has gotten off to a flying start. Currently, the Sounders are coming off of two straight victories and their attack looks close to unstoppable. On three separate occasions this season, the Seattle attack has put three goals past their opponents. Captain America Clint Dempsey and the pacey Obafemi Martins lead the team with four goals apiece (combined that’s three goals more than all of NYCFC). However, there has not been a wide distribution of the scoring responsibility. Outside of Dempsey and Martins, only one other player, Lamar Neagle with two goals, has found the back of the net for the Sounders. If New York can somehow manage to contain the two scoring leaders Sunday, Seattle may find it extremely difficult to leave Yankee Stadium with three points.
New York won’t find any optimism in looking at the Sounders defensive unit. Sigi Schmid’s side has already recorded four clean sheets in just seven games this season. Other than a three-goal hiccup against San Jose, no team has scored more than once against Seattle. For a team struggling to score, these statistics will have many New York fans waiting until next week to get their hopes up about finding a win.
The odds seemed to be stacked against NYCFC. The absence of a clear leader in attack paired with a porous defense makes Seattle the clear favorites despite playing far away from the boisterous confines of CenturyLink Field. The Sounders will confidently walk into Yankee Stadium Sunday and stroll out with all three points secured with a comfortable 2-0 victory.