New York City FC

NYCFC's Ronny Deila pleased with performance against LA Galaxy despite defeat

Chris Smith
Deila is optimistic despite an opening-day defeat for NYCFC.
Deila is optimistic despite an opening-day defeat for NYCFC. / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila has said he is pleased with the manner of his team's performance, despite their opening-day MLS defeat to the LA Galaxy.

The reigning MLS Cup champions played out a close game at Dignity Health Sports Park, but succumbed to defeat thanks to Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez's last-minute winner for the Galaxy.

In the end, NYCFC just didn't show the attacking verve and incision that made them so ruthlessly effective in 2021. But for a season opener, Deila - who also refused to use his team's early-season Concacaf Champions League exploits as an excuse - came away with plenty of positives.

“It’s the first game of the season so it’s always a battle, not often both teams play very well," Deila told reporters after the match. "It was a lot of fight and not so much good play but I think we controlled the game really well.

"I think it was very tight, good game, both teams were organized. We had our chances and they had their chances, not many but some of them. I think we were working really hard, in a tough arena, so I feel like we deserved something from the game. It’s very disappointing that we didn’t get a point.

"There wasn’t quality at the end there, good goal from Chicharito and we just have to deal with it. There are a lot of positives, we have to be better with the ball, that’s the main thing. We need to play more and play quicker but I think it was difficult today because of the pitch. It was very dry and very hot out there so it’s difficult to move the ball as we wanted.

"If we keep games even like this against tough opposition we will get points, we just have to take the positive things with us and improve and be more effective in the next game.”

Though equally disappointed with the final outcome, Deila's observation was echoed by midfielder Alfredo Morales, who played a key role in NYCFC's defensive efforts with three tackles and nine recoveries.

“Obviously, we wanted to win this game. We played a very good first half, although LA kept the ball," the 31-year-old said. "They played a good game but still we created very good moments, very good chances. A little more precision in the final third and we could have scored in the first half.

"We had everything under control and at the end of the game, they built some pressure with the atmosphere, with the stadium, with the fans.

"To be honest, I am very disappointed with the loss because I really believe that we played a good game and we should have gotten some kind of reward, maybe a draw. It’s the first game of the season, we have to keep going and build on it next week.”

Next up for the defending champs is another away trip to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.