Like it or not, seven games into its inaugural season, New York City FC already has forged a reputation as a team that gives up late goals and points.
Case in point: Sunday night's 1-0 loss to the lowly Portland Timbers before a crowd of 21,891 at Yankee Stadium.
For the fourth time this MLS season, NYC FC lost points in the final minutes as the Timbers' Dairon Asprilla scored a deflected goal in the 79th minute.
NYC FC (1-3-3) is 0-2-2 in those games as it extended its overall winless streak to five games.
Some fancy footwork by Darlington Nagbe set up Asprilla in the penalty area before he fired a shot that deflected off defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders went to the left and the ball wound up in the right corner for the lone goal of the match.
NYC FC entered the game with its two best players sidelined -- star striker David Villa (hamstring strain) and midfielder Mix Diskerud (ankle).
Defenders Jason Hernandez (calf strain) and Josh Williams (abductor strain) did not suit up for the game. Forward Tony Taylor went down with a knee injury in the first half and had to be taken off on a stretcher. Coach Jason Kreis said there is the possibility of ligament damage.
"All of this happens in a week and it's pretty crazy," Kreis said. "The players who were called upon tonight to put on a performance stepped forward. I think the morale in this group was especially high. They were able to do anything for each other."
Kreis said the team must turn things around soon or it will be difficult to build momentum.
"Most critical to me is to make sure we don't let these results turn into negative stuff around the group," he said. "That's the only thing that could break us right now -- if we stop believing in each other, stop being willing and able to work for each other. We need to look at the positives and build off the positives rather than look at the negatives. The negative is that we got one goal against us . . . And recognizing that we can improve some things."
NYC's Khiry Shelton had close chances in the 88th and 89th minutes, but both shots were denied by Portland goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey. NYC's Patrick Mullins had the only shot on goal in the first half.