New York City FC has gone from bad to worse, but not quite worst, at least not yet.
The Major League Soccer expansion club continued its woeful start to its inaugural season, doing just enough to lose yet another game, a 3-1 defeat to the Seattle Sounders at Yankee Stadium Sunday night.
The loss dropped the team to 1-5-3. The six points puts NYC FC in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and 18th out of 20 teams. Only the Philadelphia Union (1-6-3, 6) and Montreal Impact (0-2-2, 2) are below NYC FC in the MLS.
Coach Jason Kreis, considered one of the best coaches in the league after he directed Real Salt Lake to the 2009 MLS Cup crown, said he wasn't taking the slow start well.
"It just doesn't sit well with me," he said. "I guess I didn't realize it would be this difficult . . . how hard it is to build a team in this league."
Kreis said he has endured "a lot of sleepless nights . . . to think of ways to get this team to improve, staying positive and have some patience. That's probably one of my biggest downfalls in my character. I have very little patience."
The game changed early in the second half.
The Sounders had grabbed a lead in the 23rd minute when Obafemi Martins scored.
With NYC FC's star striker David Villa (hip irritation) ready to enter the match in place of Mehdi Ballouchy, Ballouchy tied it in the 54th minute.
Ballouchy never had time to celebrate as he came out and Villa came in. Kreis said he and his staff tried to "make a different change, but the [substitutions] card was already there," with the fourth official.
Four minutes later, the Sounders (5-2-1) regained the lead. U.S. international captain and striker Clint Dempsey drilled a Marco Pappa feed into the net past goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Dempsey helped create the insurance goal with a crafty back-heel pass that allowed Martins to break in and give the visitors a 3-1 lead and some breathing room in the 66th minute.
"You come up against two of the finest strikers in the league," Kreis said. "They're killers."
Kreis stressed that the team had not given up. "The interesting thing is this team still believes in themselves," he said. "It's not like we've walked into any game and been outplayed or outclassed."