Defensive struggles continue for NYCFC in 3-3 draw with FC Dallas

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New York City took on Western Conference side FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena this past Tuesday night following back-to-back losses to the top two squads in the Eastern Conference in Nashville SC and New England Revolution. Unfortunately for the home side, the NYCFC defensive struggles continued in this game. 

NYCFC defensive struggles continue in 3-3 draw with FC Dallas

NYCFC would be without defensive midfielder Alfredo Morales who picked up a red card against the Revs, Santiago Rodríguez who suffered a lower-body injury over the weekend and forward Taty Castellanos due to yellow card accumulation, who leads the team with eleven goals and sits second with seven assists.

Brazilian signing Talles Magno stepped in as the starting number nine while Nicolás Acevedo moved into the midfield for the suspended Morales and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi took the place of the injured Rodríguez on the right-wing. 

But perhaps the most exciting addition to New York City’s lineup for the night was striker Héber who had returned to the squad on the bench for the first time since tearing his ACL in September 2020, despite being listed as questionable before the match.

First Half

The NYCFC defensive struggles were on full display in the opening minutes against FC Dallas as Jáder Obrian found the back of the net in the 4-minute on a looping cross which slipped under Anton Tinnerholm creating a one-on-one for Obrian against Sean Johnson who slotted it past the keeper to put Dallas up 1-0.

It didn’t take long for NYCFC to answer however as just a little over 15 minutes later they would tie it up 1-1 on a picture-perfect backheel pass from Jesús Medina which found an open Maxi Moralez who snuck the ball past a few Dallas players in the 20-minute for his second goal of the season.

New York City continued to dominate play with their offense throughout the first half but couldn’t find a goal to take the lead and went into halftime all tied up with Dallas at 1-1.

Second Half

Similarly to how they ended the first half, NYCFC came out overpowering Dallas with their offensive prowess to find a lead changing goal just twelve minutes into the second half as Gudmundur Thórarinsson sent a ball in which found Moralez for a shot on goal forcing a save from Dallas’ keeper Phelipe Megiolaro, before eventually being tapped home by Medina on the rebound making it 2-1 City in the 57-minute.

But yet again NYCFC would be let down by their defense as USMNT forwards Ricardo Pepi and Jesús Ferreira linked up in the 63-minute with some excellent passing to get in behind Alexander Callens and the defensive line of New York City to tie the game up at 2-2.

In the spirit of how back and forth the scoring in this game was, NYCFC marched right down the field at the 67-minute mark with a cross from Thórarinsson which found an unmarked Magno breaking toward the back post to bounce it in putting his team back up 3-2.

But NYCFC’s lead wouldn’t last as in the 73-minute, a counter-attacking FC Dallas again beat New York City’s backline finding Obrian in behind, this time substitute Maxime Chanot getting caught out for Obrian’s second goal of the night and Dallas’ third, tying the contest up 3-3.

The game was capped off by an 8-minute appearance from Héber off the bench before Thiago Andrade who was subbed in for Tajouri-Shradi, was given a red card in the 92-minute for a foul which was originally ruled a yellow by the referee but upon review was upped to a full red, marking NYCFC’s third red card in as many games.

NYCFC’s Defensive Dilemma

New York City has now allowed eight goals in their last three matches which according to the games broadcast is tied for the second-most in MLS during that span. And while the first two losses came at the hands of the Eastern Conference leaders, FC Dallas currently sit tenth in the west and NYCFC had multiple opportunities to see out a win and get the three points from this match.

While on the offensive side, NYCFC has been one of the best teams in MLS scoring 41 goals which puts them behind only New England with 47, their defense is costing them points and the only defender who looks like a lock for the starting XI is Thórarinsson. On top of all that, this is now the third match in a row where a City player has picked up a red card or somebody’s had to miss time due to yellow card accumulation. Manager Ronny Deila is going to have to find a way to clean up his backline and keep his best players on the field, especially with MLS Cup Playoffs looming every point can be crucial.

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