The match started well for NYCFC as the visitors jumped out to an early lead. Playing a high press, City forced RSL into a turnover and the end result was an Alex Ring goal just four minutes in.
But New York City would be challenged to maintain pressure on the offensive side of the ball. Following the NYCFC goal, Real Salt Lake began to build pressure on their guests, which would lead to several high-quality scoring chances.
“We played really well in the first 15-20 minutes. After that, they won every single ball, the intensity and we could not compete defensively tonight against Salt Lake,” said Doménec Torrent, NYCFC’s head coach. “I was saying at halftime, we’ll have to be brave, play short but we started to play long balls. The faster you play, the faster the ball is coming. I have to accept they played much better than us in this game.”
The home side would finally level the match in the 37th minute as Jefferson Savarino would beat Sean Johnson with an emphatic strike into the top of the net.
In the second half, Real Salt Lake would control the pace of play. But it wasn’t until the 75th minute when Albert Rusnak scored that RSL would grab the lead. A Nick Besler backheel goal 13 minutes later would secure the three points for the home side.
City defender James Sands felt his team should have played a smarter match.
“We have a lot of games coming up we maybe should have brought some more players back to defend [and make] it a little easier on ourselves, but we didn’t and it cost us,” he said.
New York City will be back home Thursday night when they welcome the Houston Dynamo to Yankee Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.