New York City FC: Good and bad of season’s first 3 months

New York City FC is ready to take the pitch after a two-week break during the Copa América tournament.

NYCFC sits fourth in the Eastern Conference (4-5-6, 18 points) as the MLS season approaches its midway point. Here are some take-aways from the season to date.

Secondary scoring

Creating scoring chances is important, but capitalizing matters most. Failing to convert opportunities has cost NYCFC wins and critical points in the standings. This is obvious as the club leads MLS in shot attempts and ranks third in shots on goal but is tied for eighth out of 20 in goals scored.

“We do not score enough with all the chances we create,” head coach Patrick Vieira told reporters after the team’s 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake at Yankee Stadium on June 2. “We have to change something.”

NYCFC might be lost without David Villa, the MLS scoring leader with 10 goals. The captain takes the bulk of the team’s shots — his 88 attempts are nearly four times as many as Steven Mendoza’s 23, second-most on the team. One telling stat: NYCFC has not won a game in which Villa failed to score this season.

Holding on

NYCFC is winless in its last four games, and sustaining a lead until the final whistle has been an issue. The club has led in two of their last three matches. With a 2-1 lead against Orlando City SC on May 29 at home, NYCFC surrendered the equalizer in the 94th minute to settle for a draw.

The club’s defense, which has allowed the most goals this season (29), has been questioned and needs to be tightened up.

Youth movement

Trading for Jack Harrison, this year’s top pick in the MLS SuperDraft, already is paying off. The 19-year old midfielder has made an immediate impact since his May 21 debut, scoring his first career goal in his second game. If Harrison continues to bring the energy boost he has given the fan base, the English rookie will be a fixture for years to come.

R.J. Allen, 26, is integral to NYCFC’s back line now and in the future. In eight games this season, the left back registered his first career goal and two assists.