New York City FC coach Ronny Deila lamented some discipline issues in his side’s defeat to New England Revolution, as he aims to bounce back against FC Dallas.
NYCFC’s hopes of consolidating their playoff spot took something of a hit with the 2-1 loss to runaway Eastern Conference leaders New England this weekend, with Deila’s team having to play the majority of the second half with 10 men after Alfredo Morales’ dismissal.
However, they have a swift chance to get back on the winning trail and snap a two-game losing streak when they take on FC Dallas, who sit 11th in the Western Conference, above only fellow Texas teams Houston Dynamo and Austin FC.
“We kept ourselves in the game,” Deila said after Saturday’s match.
“As I said attitude wise, we’re very good, we were up for it. At the same time it’s a lack of understanding, or maybe discipline. We give them an opportunity to get 2-1. A little bit disappointed about that, but it’s always tough to play away with ten men.
“We have to evaluate quick and go on. We need to get back on the winning track now on Tuesday.”
NYCFC face a Dallas side buoyed by the return of star striker Ricardo Pepi.
Having scored on his debut for the United States over the international break, the teenager came back to score his 12th MLS goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
“I knew that I was going to come back and play,” Pepi told reporters.
“I didn’t know I was going to start or play as a sub. I had to be prepared for this opportunity.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
NYCFC – Valentin Castellanos
Valentin Castellanos has had another strong campaign, with his 11 goals his joint-best tally in an MLS season to-date. He provided the assist for NYCFC’s opener against New England, one of two key passes he played.
FC Dallas – Ricardo Pepi
It has been a stellar season for Pepi, who is just going from strength to strength. At 18, he is on some career trajectory, and if he continues this form in the run-in, bigger clubs from outside MLS may well come calling sooner rather than later.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This will be the sixth all-time meeting between New York City FC and FC Dallas, with each team winning once at home and drawing the other three meetings. NYCFC is unbeaten in four straight (W1 D3) after Dallas won the first-ever meeting between the teams, 2-1, in September 2015.
– New York City FC has won seven straight home matches, outscoring opponents 17-2 in those matches. The seven-match run equals NYCFC’s longest-ever home winning streak (7 including playoffs from November 2017 to June 2018) and is the longest home winning streak in MLS this season.
– FC Dallas has lost only one of its last five away matches (W2 D2), scoring 12 times in those games. Dallas avoided defeat just three times in its previous 15 road games (W1 D2), totaling only four goals in that span.
– Valentín Castellanos set up Santiago Rodriguez’s goal for NYCFC on Saturday, making it eight consecutive goals that Castellanos has either scored (5) or assisted (3). Castellanos’ eight goal contributions since the start of August are tied with Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar for most in MLS in that time.
– Ricardo Pepi scored his 12th goal of the season, and the 15th of his MLS career (including playoffs) in FC Dallas’ 1-1 draw with the Earthquakes on Saturday. At 18 years, 245 days, Pepi is the third-youngest player to reach the 15-goal mark in MLS after Jozy Altidore and Diego Fagundez.