New York City FC will be looking for a different ending against the Philadelphia Union tonight at Yankee Stadium, five days after allowing an extra-time goal for a loss on the road Saturday.
Veteran keeper Josh Saunders was front and center Saturday when a spread-out back line and a rebound led to the stoppage time goal. He said he’s looking forward to getting another chance against the Union (1-3-2) tonight.
“We look forward to that, we welcome that and we want that,” Saunders said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Want to put it to them at home.”
Saunders said the play fell apart because the team was going for a win in the late stage, which led to an inability to regroup on the back end ahead of the rebound goal. He called it a fluke play.
“There wasn’t enough urgency to close plays down to be hard-nosed defenders at that point,” he said. “We stressed ourselves out, and then at that point the ball came down the field, and we were just too stretched and didn’t get close enough to each other to support each other like we usually do.”
NYCFC (1-2-2) has been forced to find urgency late all season due to an inability to get ahead in the first half. The club hasn’t scored in the first half in four of its five matches. Saunders said it gives them something to work on, though it hasn’t been a problem in training.
“These are obvious points we need to work out and I think it just comes down to: It’s a confidence thing,” he said. “Rather than waiting for the game to come to us, we need to take the game to other teams.”
Tonight will provide a new opportunity to put that sentiment into action.