CITY vs NYCFC Postgame Conference


by Annamaria Lu

"We came out today to send a message - to show we were angry about ourselves in our past performance."

That's how Coach Bradley Carnell started his remarks after the Saturday, 3/2 game against NYCFC. CITY SC had a dominating performance and closed out NYCFC at home after losing in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

There wasn't a lot of practice time between Saturday's game and the previous Tuesday. Carnell credited his team for reflecting on the CONCACAF loss and finding internal motivation to make changes for the NYCFC game.

"Being totally accountable, responsible, and know that, yeah, there's something about this team that's special. And I see the amount of work these guys put in, when you don't quite get to see everything. I see the enjoyment as a group. I see the commitment and togetherness as a group. It was good to see the ship on the display tonight, similar to some performances of last season."

Carnell later described the game as "tight" and that "It was a complete performance." He praised the team for their connection. It felt as though he saw the performance as a correction for the team's disappointment at being knocked out of CONCACAF: "...the players themselves felt that there was something off about Tuesday. Didn't need me to tell them. They didn't need me to show a video. They didn't need me to lay the heavy hand. These guys, they know we give a better picture than that."

On the Starting Lineup

We saw a completely different lineup from the last couple games from Coach Carnell. When asked about the change, Carnell was frank: "We just looked for the 11 most healthy players." WIth 4 games in 11 days, he described players' health as "challenging" with the fixture scheduling. and that some of the decisions were made based on choice and some based on need.

On Célio Pompeu

Célio scored an unassisted, beautiful goal in the first half of the NYCFC game, Carnell remarked that the player has a fire and attitude that gets lit up against certain opponents, He stressed the importance of having characters on the team who do not have just technical ability, but also can have that fire, emotion, and passion.

"We are always pushing Célio. It's a project, and Célio knows where he started, and he knows where he is currently and he knows where he wants it to get to. It's up to us as coaches to encourage him and nurture him and to get him going in the right direction," said Carnell, before adding, "But yeah, he's fun to watch."

On Jaokim Nilsson

Jaokim Nilsson had a commanding presence on the pitch during the game after being out due to injury, and Carnell praised him as being a warrior who battles through and always commits to his team. "He's a leader, not just by actions, but also in and around the locker room with the younger players, and those are the things you don't get to see."

Carnell said that his performance that night was a reflection of why Nilsson was signed by CITY in the first place. We can look forward to more tight decision-making from Nilsson in the future.

On Njabulo Blom

Njabulo Blom was not on the pitch or bench for the NYCFC game, which was a noticeable absence from the list. Apparently he took a knock to the knee and was being medically evaluated.

Célio Pompeu

The first athlete at the post game press conference was none other than Man of the Match Célio, who called the night amazing. He was excited that the team showed their principles by both defending together and attacking together for the outcome.

He called this year a different year, and that the team is not trying to compare to last year but rather show the same intensity in game that they do in practice. Célio earnestly said of starting, "I just want to do my best.every day, I'm trying to prove something…to push myself." The midfielder also described himself as trying to have an open mind as a player, and to remain curious to be better.

His favorite thing about playing on Saturday was his level of improvisation when meeting rival players. He loves to challenge, but also to assist, and was happy with the win.

When asked how he was going to celebrate his unassisted goal tonight, Célio revealed that his family in Brazil had already been blowing up his phone, and he planned on calling them to celebrate.

Chris Durkin

"That's exactly the kind of game I enjoy. It was a dogfight and it was great," said Durkin at the beginning of his appearance. He was proud of the team for turning around after the CONCACAF defeat to create both energy and momentum for the win, and the morale of the group.

Durkin described the game as yellow cards flying everywhere, with lots of fouls and chippiness. He added that the reason why he liked this kind of match was because it was a strong, physical game where the team got into the fight and didn't shy away from it. He sees the aggressive and in-your-face play as part of CITY SC's DNA.

So far, Durkin loves the experience of playing at CITYPARK. "It's incredible," he said, "I've been to other venues in the past where you feel like there's just a wave coming on you where it's, you know, attack after attack and to feel like I'm a part of that. You can feel that with this crowd. And I think that's incredible. You feel that energy and it makes you want to keep going…You can really see how this is a home field advantage."

Joakim Nilsson

Nilsson didn't have the preseason he had hoped for, but during the NYCFC match he felt fresh again. He stated of the CONCACAF exit that the collective team had not been happy with their performance and wanted to set a high standard of defense for this game, saying "Collectively we are hard to beat when we bring that." He was happy with how everyone did.

Nilsson also praised fellow defender Tim Parker, describing him as a great leader in the back who is good on and off the ball.

The athlete described the recovery between Tuesday and Saturday saying physical recovery can be hard, but he believed the mental recovery at that loss was even more important with the tight schedule.

Sam Adeniran

Sam made a splash as the final athlete at the presser as he entered the conference room wearing Nigerian team warmups from his dad. He said of playing for CITY that he feels comfortable here now surrounded by such a great team.

Sam, who had a few crossbar shots before hitting the second goal of the evening from what looked to be an impossible angle, was asked what it felt like to hit cross bars. He answered that he can be shocked when he expects it to go in, but sometimes knows the angle is wrong and just moves on. He was happy to get Saturday's goal, saying a bit tongue-in-check about his goal that "I saw that the goalkeeper was kind of off his line a little bit and wasn't towards his post. So, I thought I had an angle there. I think in those situations, you just kind of hit it as hard as you can and hope for the best. I mean, I know [press] hearing from a professional you might think that we have like this, like super special tactic that we use, but sometimes it's just hit it as hard as you can and hope for the best!"

Sam also took some time to talk about the importance of mentality as an athlete, saying that the athletes have access to psychological support and that the coaches really do their best to support the whole person, not just the player.