Here are the ratings from NYCFC’s dispiriting 1-0 loss to Houston Dynamo at Shell Energy Stadium on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
Talles Magno (off 80’) – 3.4
It was a really tough day for Talles Magno, which is disappointing after his promising display at the No 9 last week. While he lacked quality service to work within the box, he didn’t do himself any favors by continually dropping deep to receive the ball only to give it away moments later. FotMob gave him a more favorable 6.4.
Santi Rodríguez – 4.6
Santi looked a little better than his Brazilian counterpart, but he wasn’t able to create many threatening moments either on the night. He provided a handful of good services from both open play and set pieces, but it amounted to nothing in the end. FotMob gave him the same as Talles Magno: 6.4.
Gabriel Pereira (off 67’) – 3.4
I’m not quite sure what’s been going on with GP of late. He’s been given start after start at the right-wing position where we’ve all expected him to excel this season, but he’s looked like a ghost since his goal at Chicago in week 2. Hopefully, he’ll turn it around next week, but with Richy Ladezma’s arrival, he may need to prove to Cushing that he’s the man for the job at RW. FotMob handed him a 6.0.
Matías Pellegrini (off 85’) – 3.6
If there’s anybody on this side that needs a goal, it’s Matí. You can’t question the guy’s drive or desire, but you can question the fact that he has yet to score in an NYCFC shirt since his signing last year. If you’re gonna be in the Starting XI every week, at some point you’re going to have to produce on the scoresheet — especially when the team’s struggling for goals. FotMob valued his performance at a 6.3.
Keaton Parks – 3.6
After a dominant performance last week, this showing was certainly a surprise for the talented midfielder. Maybe he missed his pal James Sands in the midfield? Whatever the reason, he and Alfredo Morales were not clicking on Saturday. Fotmob handed him a much higher 7.0 on the night.
Alfredo Morales – 4.3
It was the first start of the season for Morales, who had been a mainstay in the Starting XI for years passed. But, while he’ll be happy with the start and with the minutes under his belt, I’m not sure he’ll be thrilled with the performance. Fotmob gave him a 6.5.
James Sands – 6.0
One of the few bright spots on the day was the performance James Sands put in at left center back — I thought he was fantastic. You wouldn’t have guessed that he was playing out of his natural position, as he looked far more comfortable out there than anyone else in Bronx Blue. The only downside was that his performance wasn’t in the midfield, where we probably needed him most in the match. He was NYCFC’s highest-rated player on FotMob, with a 7.6.
Thiago Martins – 5.9
I thought it was another solid performance from the Brazilian DP, who was mistake-free on the night. Houston didn’t create much of anything down his side, and he showed his athleticism on a number of occasions to shut down attackers in one-on-one situations. FotMob was similarly impressed, giving him a 7.0.
Tayvon Gray – 3.7
I think a lot of this ruthless rating from the fans will be from conceding the penalty that ultimately cost NYCFC the point. But, I have to say I was shocked that the foul was given there. On another day, Tayvon gets away with that challenge, his second-half blast from the top of the box finds the back of the net, and he walks away the hero with an 8.0 rating. But alas, that’s not how it unfolded for the Homegrown. FotMob had him at a 6.8.
Braian Cufré – 4.5
I thought Cufré was solid on Saturday if I’m honest, but the fans brought the hammer down again with a 4.5 rating for the Argentinian. He’s clearly a quality player, but he just hasn’t taken that big step toward winning over the fans quite yet. Hopefully, that day will come soon. FotMob gave him a 6.3.
Luis Barraza – 4.3
It was a tough day all around for the American keeper. While I still firmly believe his distribution is among his best assets as a player, his wayward passing nearly cost his side a goal in the first half, and it didn’t get much better for him from there. He went down briefly with an injury in the second half, and for a moment it looked as if we’d see Matt Freese for the first time this season, only for Barazza to tough it out and stay in the match. FotMob presented him with the lowest rating for either team, with a 5.6.
Richy Ledzema (on 67’) – 5.1
It was a Ladezma debut on Saturday as the highly touted American pulled on the New York City blue for the first time in the competition. Coming on as a 67t- minute substitute, he had enough time to get settled and try to influence the match, but he (much like the rest of this squad) just couldn’t unlock the Houston defense. But, what stood out to me was his set-piece delivery, which I thought was really impressive on the night. FotMob gave him a 6.0 for his efforts.
Thiago (on 78’) – 4.7
Thiago had little time to make an impression. He didn’t get involved much either, with only five touches coming from what became a 20-minute cameo with stoppage time. Fotmob gave him a 5.9.
Kevin O’Toole (on 85’) – 4.6
O’Toole didn’t see the pitch until the 85th minute, so not much game time to work with here by way of ratings. Although I will note that he did get on the ball and try to get forward almost immediately, which is what you’d want from your fullback when you’re chasing a goal late in the match. He didn’t log enough minutes for FotMob to give a rating.
Andres Jasson (on 85’) – 4.9
Jason came on in tandem with O’Toole in the 85th minute, and also brought a bit of spark and energy to a match that was really lacking it. Again, he didn’t get enough time to really leave his impression on the match (or to receive a FotMob rating), but he did look confident. So that’s good, I guess?
Player of the Match
Sands looked solid filling in at center-back, and provided defensive stability while Maxime Chanot is playing for the Luxembourg national team. But you have to ask: To what effect? It’s safe to say we don’t want to see Sands in defense again because we need him in the midfield. Still, HRB readers gave him twice as many POTM votes as second-place Thiago Martins.
Nick Cushing – 2.8
When a performance falls this flat across the entire squad, fingers have to be pointed toward the manager. That’s just the way it is. I’m a Cushing believer for sure, but he’s going to have to find some way to get life from this squad on the road, as that’s three really dull performances in as many attempts away from Yankee Stadium.
Guido Gonzales Jr (referee) – 3.2
VAR is supposed to overturn “clear and obvious” errors, not re-referee every on-field decision. Could I see the penalty Gonzales Jr awarded to Houston being given? Sure, there was contact, and even though Hector Herrera went down easy, I can see this being given as a penalty and upheld by VAR if that was the on-field decision. But, given the call on the field was no foul, I’m really struggling to see how this was considered a “clear and obvious error”, and overturned by VAR.
If you have to slow something down to half-speed, pause it on the contact, re-wind it, and watch it 20 times to see if there was a foul…THAT’S NOT CLEAR OR OBVIOUS! That’s hyper-analysis. They got this wrong in my book.
Mark Rogondino (Apple TV play-by-play) – 3.3
A little flat, a little lifeless. Maybe the right announcer for this game after all?
Heath Pearce (Apple TV analyst) – 3.4
To be honest the broadcast team provided some good insight and gave balanced coverage. But it’s hard to follow Joe Tolleson and Ian Joy, or make a positive impression on a night like this one.