The Man In Seat 9: Quake-Proof New York City FC Win at Avaya Stadium

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - March 11: Goalkeeper Sean Johnson #1 of New York City during the New York City FC Vs Orlando City SC regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on March 17, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Editorial (April 1, 2018) – For this away match, the Man in Seat 9 had decided to join The Third Rail at St. Pat’s Bar and Grill and continue the review of New York City FC’s Pub Partners. It was not to be. Having come down with a horrible spring cold I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and that I should not infect my fellow Cityzens. Next time Third Rail, next time.

And so, I watched the match at home. This gave me a chance to actually listen to the commentary during play, instead of just white noise in the background. The Man in Seat 9 was not impressed. It might have been the cold in my head, but the announcers sounded decidedly pro-San Jose Earthquakes. Until they weren’t. Then they became only slightly pro-San Jose. Second-guessing Patrick Vieria until it was pointless to do so because NYCFC had won. Largely on the strength of Sean Johnson.

The Man In Seat 9: Quake-Proof New York City FC Win at Avaya Stadium

There are times in a season that show the mettle of a team, as well as their fragility. New York City FC tonight in San Jose, and last week in New England, put the league on notice that they are gritty, composed, and resilient. Again, without David Villa, Alexander Ring, or Ben Sweat, the youth stood up and got a result on the road by sheer tenacity. Their play at times was a juxtaposition of beautiful and ugly, in almost the same moments.

They also exposed that without their key players, they tend to get shaky in defense, relying too much, in my opinion, on the brilliance of Sean Johnson and tend to be offensively anemic. Still, they do get the job done, and in the end, that’s what matters. Even with David Villa missing three matches out of five, NYCFC remains unbeaten.

The match in San Jose was not pretty. Passes were just a few steps off target. Set pieces were poorly defended. And tempers flared as players allowed San Jose to get into their heads. They lost discipline. Even given those failings, NYCFC came from being down a goal in the 2nd minute to taking three points on the road with a two-goal to one win in a notoriously tough venue.

Anton Tinnerholm took a passed ball off of a corner and with a one-touch rocket that shook the crossbar and ricocheted in for a goal bringing NYCFC even in the 49th minute. Although Ismael Tajouri-Shradi did not score, he was instrumental ten minutes later with some inspired ball control before threading the ball to Maxi Moralez would strike the net with a deflected shot over the goalkeeper to give the Boys in Blue the winning goal.

The Good:
• Sean Johnson. Again.
• Toajouri-Shradi. Again
• Patrick Vieira moving Medina to the middle with Berget moved out to the side.
• Patrick Vieria subbing off Jo Inge Berget.
• Patience and belief in the system.
• Alton Tinnerholm’s goal. A masterful strike.

The Bad:
• A sloppy and lackadaisical first twenty minutes.
• Giving away passes in the midfield
• Berget. Period. Full Stop.
• Sloppy passing. Always just a bit behind the target.

The Ugly:
• Set piece defense. Zonal marking on corners is going to give the Man in Seat 9 grey hair.
• Losing composure.

David Villa

David Villa. I wrote last week how I hoped that this wasn’t the start of one of those nagging calf injuries like Lampard had that comes at the end of soccer careers. I’m afraid it might be starting to look like it could be. Hopefully, I’m wrong. Villa pulled himself from the starting eleven after warm-ups. I don’t know who we have to take the place if the Captain is sidelined. Jo Inge Berget sure isn’t looking like a key striker, being less than impressive in the last two matches. Here’s to wishing El Guaje a full recovery from whatever is nagging his calf.

Stadium Update

After Mr. Garber stated on local Fox 5 News in New York that “They’re making progress. I don’t think we’re going to see anything happen in the near future.” The Man in Seat 9 reached out to the Front Office for some information and additional questions. In the past, the club has been very responsive to my request. This time, however, crickets. Nothing. Nada. Not even a polite, “we decline to comment.” And this is the biggest problem and frustration with the fans around the promise to build a Soccer Specific Stadium — the sheer lack of communication.

I understand the desire to not put false starts out there, thereby fanning the hopes and dreams of the faithful — but there should be regular statements by the club, even if those statements are “we continue to work with the city and the Mayor’s office, but as of now there is no new information.”

Watch this space… I think this is going to be a weekly section of The Man in Seat 9. Even if it’s blank.

Pub Partner Review

Home: Not An Official NYCFC Pub Partner
Atmosphere: Cozy.
Beer: None due to medication.
Soccer Vibe: ALL THE SOCCERS.
Grade: C

Achoo!
The Man in Seat 9

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