Numbers can be deceiving, especially in soccer.
Just ask New York City FC after Orlando City handed the team its first loss of the young MLS season, 1-0, Friday night.
The hosts did everything but grab the three points.
They outshot Orlando, 16-10.
They finished with more corner kicks, 12-3.
And they possessed the ball two-thirds of the time before a crowd of 24,597 at chilly Yankee Stadium.
“The only thing they missed tonight was the goals,” a frustrated and disappointed NYC FC coach Patrick Vieira said. “We gave the way the game in the first 10 minutes.”
Except for a counterattack or two by Orlando, it was City all night.
“We went into the game with not enough desire for concentration,” Vieira said. “We were a little bit too sloppy and we made it easy for them.”
Forward Cyle Larin, who last season forged a reputation as being a New York killer by recording hat tricks against City and the Red Bulls en route to MLS rookie of the year honors, could not duplicate his feat Friday. But one goal was more than enough. That came when he headed in Rafael Ramos’ right-wing feed past goalkeeper Josh Saunders for the lone goal in the seventh minute.
“They were kind of lucky on their goal,” said midfielder Mix Diskerud, who was unlucky on his chances.
Diskerud, who has been one of the most consistent City players this season, had several opportunities to give City an equalizer.
“I should have scored a goal,” he said.
Goalkeeper Joe Bendik had other plans, producing a two-handed save in the eighth minute and punching away a close-range effort after Andrea Pirlo floated in a corner kick in the 17th minute.
“Great ball from him,” Diskerud said. “The goalie came out and made himself big. I connected well with the ball. I was going to half volley it but the wind took the ball.”
Diskerud came tantalizingly close in the 58th minute when he took a back heel pass from captain David Villa and rushed in on Bendik, who slapped away his try.
“I should have buried it near post instead of far post,” Diskerud said. “I didn’t have the time.”
Buried on the NYC FC bench has been popular midfielder Kwadwo Poku, the undisputed sparkplug of a rather drab 2015 team. He dressed for a game for the first time this season. He did not see any action despite chants from the stands that started late in the first half, “We want Poku! We want Poku!”
Vieira has said on several occasions that it is a long season and that Poku’s time will come.
A disappointed Poku spoke in measured terms about his predicament.
“It’s a little big tough because every player wants to play,” he said. “I leave everything up to the coach. He took the job and he knows better. He makes up the decision. I will just keep working and training just waiting for the chance.”