With the Supporters’ Shield officially out of reach for New York City FC, the Blues can now focus on clinching their spot in the upcoming MLS Playoffs with a more complete lineup.
NYCFC’s starting 11 regained strength in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Montreal Impact. Jo Inge Berget, Maxime Chanot and Alex Ring returned as starters, with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Ebenezer Ofori back as subs.
Although the result wasn’t what the Blues needed — a win could have clinched a playoff spot — they’re taking the positives from the match as they to try again to clinch Wednesday night in the Bronx against the Chicago Fire.
“We played much better the last three or four games away,” head coach Domènec Torrent said after the draw. “The performance has been much better.”
Berget played a big role in his return to the pitch, forcing the opening own-goal by Montreal’s Rudy Camacho in the 17th minute. But much like the rest of the six-match winless streak the club is riding into the midweek matchup, goals have been very hard to come by for NYCFC. They’ve scored just four times in that span.
‘‘You win games if you score goals. It’s as easy as that,” Berget said. “If you score many goals each game, you’re most likely going to win many games. And these last games we haven’t really scored. We created loads of chances. Maybe not today but the last few games. And we just can’t get it in the net.
“But we know the quality of the players we have here that it is going to come.”
NYCFC (14-8-8, 50 points) currently is the No. 3 seed in the East. However, both the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union started to breathe down City’s neck with wins over the weekend. If the Blues do finish third, they’ll host the No. 6 seed in the one-game knockout round on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1.
“It’s been a while since we last won a game, and we really want to win,” Berget said. “That’s the good thing about the tight-schedule matches — we’ve got a new game on Wednesday.”