It’s going to take something special for New York City FC to stay in the Orlando bubble for a little while longer.
After two-straight defeats to open Group A play, NYCFC enters its final group-stage game needing a win against expansion side Inter Miami CF to maintain any sort of hope that they can advance to the Round of 16.
To do so, they’ll need some luck on their side, too.
As it stands, the Cityzens have a 20% chance of making it to the knockout round, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. Those are the 18th-best odds out of 24 teams currently playing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
What they’ll need to do is beat Inter Miami by multiple goals to improve their goal-difference line while hoping some other results sway their way.
On the off chance that, with three points, they are one of the four best third-place teams at the MLS is Back Tournament, they’ll get to the Round of 16. There are at present five teams that are not seeded within the top two of their particular groups that have in any event one point — more than NYCFC has.
It’s a huge ask considering New York’s MLS club has scored only a single goal this season going back to March 1 — a total 180 from a team that has been one of the top squads in the Eastern Conference lately.
“Since I’ve been at the club I think I’ve lost twice in a row once, so it’s been something new,” captain Alex Ring told reporters via Zoom. “We say the identity of the club is we try to win games. So for us, it’s an unusual situation.”
Their opener against the Philadelphia Union saw an Alejandro Bedoya second-half champ take a match NYCFC had generally dominated. Pressure just built further after a moderate beginning brought about a 3-1 misfortune to Orlando City SC.
“I think we have started the games not so good. We have to be much more aggressive in the start of the games,” head coach Ronny Deila said. “When it got to 2-0 under in the last game, after that it was 6-3 goal chances to us. So it’s almost like we don’t have anything to lose and we go hard and attack, so I think we have to be more offensive in our mindset when we go on the pitch.”
Monday’s group-stage finale will be played at 9 a.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.