(David Villa (center) looks to make a play – @NYCFC)
In the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium, New York City Football Club fell to Atlanta United, 1-0.
Atlanta got the game winner in the 37th minute when Eric Remedi, took advantage of an opportunity at the back post after NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson had flicked away a Josef Martinez volley.
NYCFC’s best chance to tie the match came in the 73rd minute when Jo Inge Berget stretched out his leg to try and turn Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s cross-shot into the net, but the ball would fall the wrong side of the far post.
NYCFC Head Coach Domenec Torrent said of the game, “Today, it’s a bad result for us but I reminded my players, we need to imagine it’s a final. We need to win the next game. If you’re able to win the next game, you need to score at least one goal. 1-0? Extra time. If you’re able to win the game and score two goals, you are in the [Eastern Conference] final.”
Torrent said of what needs to be adjusted heading to Atlanta, “We need to win the game. I have to find the best solution and the best team to play better. I agree with who played the game in the second half. The second half we played much better, we can play side-to-side, we can play two against one. We played well the second half, they defend very well but we just need to win the game. We don’t need to win 2-0, 3-0, 4-1 – no, no – we need to win. If we win at least 1-0, it’s extra time, if you score 2, you are in the [Eastern Conference final], it’s as simple as that. We need to improve, absolutely. We need to improve for the next game because they have quality and the first half, we didn’t play well because we didn’t have the connection between the central midfielders and the strikers. We didn’t defend well, the set pieces especially. Every single corner, every single free kick, they could finish. We have to improve because in a semifinal or a final, you have to be focused on that, in every single action. But I am happy at the second half because I think we played much better – not in the first half and we have chances to win in Atlanta, why not? They have a good team but New York City as well. Our intention is to go to Atlanta to win the game because we need to win.”
The second leg will be on Sunday, November 11 in Atlanta.