3252 Breakdown - NYCFC
By Andrew Doran
Win at home, draw on the road. This old adage, more used with national soccer and qualifying competitions, is just as relevant as ever. In LAFC’s first away match of the 2019 season, they traveled to New York City to play a match inside a baseball stadium. Getting a result is never a bad thing, but let’s do a 3252 breakdown on the game!
3 things that went well:
The amount of pressure that LAFC placed on NYCFC. Every time LAFC lost the ball, they would press really hard on trying to get the ball back. Since NYCFC has such a narrow field, LA ended up being really bunched up during the course of the game. This allowed for a constant press going for the ball. While NYC had a majority of the possession, LAFC never allowed them to get into a rhythm.
Responding after going down. One issue that LAFC had during the preseason was how the responded after going down a goal. They would look lethargic and disinterested in being down. For this game though, the Los Angeles Football Club fought back each time, trying to find the equalizer. Each time they went down, LA was good at pushing the ball forward towards goal. Last year, this is a game that LAFC loses due to lack of composure. This year is different though, and they found a way to get a point.
The traveling fans of LAFC. Yeah, this is not an on the field point, but I was blown away by the number of LAFC fans that flew to New York to catch this game. It’s one of the farthest away matches for LA this year, but there were about 200 people that cheered on the Black & Gold. It was great watching the game on FS1 and hearing the chants and songs the 3252 sings during home matches. Bravo to everyone that went and cheers on the boys!
2 things that need to be worked on:
Spreading the field a little bit more. I’m willing to excuse LAFC’s lack of space because of the terrible pitch in New York. How does MLS think that having a small pitch, one that might be better for high school, is allowed in professional soccer? The support that NYCFC has is great, but it’s a joke the team has to play in a baseball stadium. No wonder they have a great home record, no one knows how to play there!
Committing way too fouls, especially around the box. This game was super physical. There were a combined 31 fouls in the game and there were plenty of times that bodies were just thrown about the pitch. NYC is really good and using set pieces in order to get shots on goal, it’s been a large part of their identity since they came to MLS five years ago. Since LA was fouling so much, they kept on getting chances to put the ball into the back of the net. Way too many chances given to the home side.
5 key moments of the match:
NYCFC first goal in the first half. A common theme during the course of the game was LAFC’s defense getting burned. Danilo Silva didn’t have a great game in the defensive third, nor did Walker Zimmerman. The first goal though ended with three LAFC players on the ground or trying desperately to get back. It didn’t work and LAFC were behind.
LAFC’s goal to draw things level. Minutes after just going down, Latif Blessing hit a great through ball to Carlos Vela who did the rest. The reigning player of the week for Major League Soccer shows why he is one of the best players in the league. Surely Vela will be on the team of the week again. The celebration of hitting a home run was also pretty phenomenal too.
NYCFC’s second goal. Last year, LAFC had moments in which they would just shut off and not execute plays. Zimmerman did exactly that when Ben Sweat was able to out-hustle him on the goal line. With Sweat keeping the ball in, he passed it back to Alexander Ring who riffed the ball into the top of the net. A lazy goal to give up.
Blessing getting fouled in the box. LAFC did a really good job in getting the ball into the box to create chances but they kept on not shooting the ball, trying to find the next best pass. Finally, Blessing was able to find some space and went running across the box when he was chopped down. Clear cut foul and Vela was able to get his brace and put LAFC back into a draw.
Diomande’s miss. Holy smokes, LAFC should have won this game at the death. Diomande ended up with an amazing opportunity with the ball at his feet to win the game but ended up putting the ball well wide of goal. A bitter pill to swallow, especially with how he put those chances away, but in the grand scheme of things, we won’t remember the miss later on in the season.
2 star players
Vela. Alexi Lalas was on the call for FS1 and kept on talking about how great Vela is. He may not be the quickest, but Vela has the ability to put the team on his back to get a result. On a game that Diego Rossi was absent, Vela was able to put everything together to see LA get its road point.
Blessing. The 22-year-old Ghanan utility man is starting to really show growth and maturity. After playing right back last week, he got his first start in the middle of the field and was able to hold his own during the course of the game. Blessing is only doing himself favors by showing he can literally play anywhere on the pitch.
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