With no wins or goals scored, New York City FC have reached a pivotal juncture of not only the season but also the MLS is Back Tournament ahead of their Group A matchup against Orlando City on Tuesday.
NYCFC (0-3-0, 0 points) lost their first group-stage game 1-0 to Philadelphia. They would be unlikely to advance to the event’s knockout stage with a defeat to the Lions (1-1-1, 4 points), who rallied to beat Inter Miami 2-1 in their first tourney game.
The top two teams in each of the six groups as well as four third-place finishers qualify for the next round of the tournament being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.
“If we want to have it in our hands, we need to win the next game,” NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said. “If we draw, then it’s not in our own hands, but it’s still a possibility. We, of course, are going into it wanting to win and going for three points in the next game.”
New York City has no chance unless its offense wakens.
“Sometimes it opens up and you’re able to score and you know there are a lot of opportunities, and sometimes it just closes up and you don’t score,” NYCFC defender Ronald Matarrita said. “We just have to keep having the confidence. We have to keep trying and we know that in the end we will be able to score.”
Orlando City had the third-fewest points (9-15-10, 37 points) among all MLS teams last season, so the win last week, even against Miami’s expansion team, has lifted spirits.
“It’s a long journey and we want to win all the games, but when you develop a mentality that you are positive about, it’s contagious,” Orlando coach Oscar Pareja said. “I hope the boys keep growing and we hope we can keep building going into this match.”