A month after getting thrashed 4-0 by NYCFC, D.C. United responded when the two clubs met again Saturday with a 2-1 victory. Patrick Vieira brought in Frederic Brillant to play three at the back for NYCFC, while Luciano Acosta was healthy for D.C. this time around. Former NYCFC player Patrick Mullins was not in the match day 18.
D.C. United took a lead in the 53rd minute when Lloyd Sam capitalized on a Brillant defensive error. Acosta made it 2-0 before David Villa pulled one back for NYCFC in the 83rd minute. With that in mind, here are five key statistics that led to D.C. United’s victory and NYCFC’s demise. (All statistics are from WhoScored unless noted)
NYCFC-D.C. United: Five Key Statistics
Patrick Vieira elected to make one change by removing Ethan White and inserting Brillant. White had been playing well these past games, and Brillant made a terrible mistake to gift Lloyd Sam a goal. While Brillant was more involved in distribution, that was more a result of the formation change. Overall, he played fine, but the error leading to D.C. United’s goal stained his mediocre performance.
Once again NYCFC dominated possession, 66%-34%, but were unable to convert it into goals. They also attempted more shots. D.C. United had the same number of shots on target but, in the end, converted one more goal than NYC. Having a lot of possession is beneficial, but only when it gets converted to solid chances. NYCFC need to be better at creating and scoring those chances if they want to be victorious.
Tommy McNamara: Super-Sub
Through five games, Tommy McNamara is yet to start. However, he came off the bench in each one and transformed the team. As a substitute he’s contributed a goal, an assist, and a key pass. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, he has accomplished this in 101 minutes. That translates to .88 goals, .88 assists, and .88 key passes per 90 minutes. In contrast, Andrea Pirlo has no goals or assists across 394 minutes, but is averaging 1.6 key passes per 90. McNamara is having more of an impact offensively. The next game against the struggling Philadelphia Union is a perfect opportunity to swap McNamara and Pirlo and see what happens.
Miguel Camargo, the Panamanian international on loan from Chorrillo FC, made his debut against D.C. United. In his brief appearance he showed some flashes of what he can do. He has some nifty tricks, but his final product is a little rough on the edges. However, his directness can be a tremendous asset off the bench. He entered in the 79th minute and registered a successful dribble, a shot, and had 13 touches.
Ring Dominates Midfield
Alexander Ring dominated the midfield once again, with eight defensive actions (four tackles, three interceptions, one clearance). However, most of that domination occurred in the first half. Ring has to cover for Pirlo, so he is essentially doing the defensive work of two players. As the game wears on and he gets tired, he cannot cover as much ground. There are two possible solutions to this issue. One possible solution is removing Pirlo from the lineup. The other solution is replacing Ring with Yangel Herrera about two-thirds of the way through the game. Both solutions would improve NYCFC’s play, but Patrick Vieira needs to decide which one he wants to pick.