Portland Ends NYCFC Home Streak with 1-0 Win

Peter Nolan July 8, 2019 122 Reads

All good things must end.

On Sunday evening, NYCFC lost 1-0 for the first time at Yankee Stadium this season to a deserving Portland Timbers side.

Torrent proud of team despite final result

The loss is also New York’s first in league play since a 4-0 pasting by Toronto FC way back in March. New York coach Dome Torrent thought that his team deserved better.

“I think the team deserved more. I am very proud of them. It is not easy to play so many games without rest. We are missing some players but is not an excuse, it is a reality, but I am very proud of them. They deserved more. In the first half, we made one mistake and when you make a mistake in soccer it punishes you.”

That mistake came in the 14th minute and resulted in the game’s only goal. Scored by Sebastian Blanco (0:50 in the below video), the goal enough to stop NYCFC’s unbeaten run at 14 games. New York defender Sebastien Ibeagha was the culprit when he failed to clear Diego Valeri’s free-kick, instead directing the ball into Blanco’s path, inadvertently setting up Portland’s goal.

Torrent handed the start to Ibeagha because his squad is shorthanded at the moment. NYCFC is missing eight first-teamers, including center backs Alex Callens, part of the Peru team that lost the Copa America final to Brazil on Sunday, and James Sands, who had been a regular starter before fracturing his arm.

Timbers’ Savarese may love New York, but keeps focus on Portland’s performance

Portland coach Giovanni Savarese has strong ties to New York and the local soccer scene since leaving his native Venezuela for Long Island University Brooklyn, through the New York amateur and semi-pro leagues, on to the MLS MetroStars, and finally to his coaching career with the New York Cosmos.

But after the match, the coach wanted to keep the focus on his team.

“It was important to get these three points to continue to climb in the table. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. This team is a team that can bring you some difficulty and challenges. They are a good team and that’s why they had only lost one match before today.”

Savarese added, “ We expected a tough match. Very proud of the sacrifice of the players the way they battled united, how we found the goal, how we created some chances, but we also had to deal with a lot. They moved the ball well, New York City, and they were looking for spaces. We made sure we worked as a unit and we were able to get a very important result for us, but it wasn’t easy.”

That sacrifice that Savarese spoke of included the team defense that frustrated a New York side that seemed bereft of ideas once it got in sight of the Portland goal. Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark had something to do with New York’s frustration too.

When NYCFC did find a way through the Portland defense Clark was there to earn the shutout despite New York’s 15 to10 shot advantage, that included five shots on target to just two by Portland on Brad Stuver in the home goal.

With New York pressing desperately to preserve its perfect home mark, Clark had to be alert virtually until the final whistle, tipping an Ibeagha header over the crossbar in the 94th minute to preserve Portland’s victory and the shutout.

Sunday’s win brings ninth place Portland within three points of eighth-place Real Salt Lake and four points back of seventh-place Houston and a playoff spot.

NYCFC remains in fifth place.

Up next for NYCFC

NYCFC Next Games:

Wednesday, July 10th – US Open Cup @ Orlando City

Sunday, July 14th – MLS regular season @ New York Red Bulls

NYRB +104Draw +260NYCFC +240
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