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City SC gets a shutout, but cannot win after a 0-0 draw with Houston

Through ten games this season, City SC is tied with Columbus and has the fewest losses in Major League Soccer, with one; it is also tied with nine other teams for the fewest wins in the league, with two.

The only place where City SC reigns supreme is in ties. City SC recorded their seventh top-flight draw in ten matches in Houston on Saturday, drawing 0-0 against the Houston Dynamo at Shell Energy Stadium. No matter how thin the line is between winning and losing in football, it is apparently more than big enough for City SC. City SC can’t stop the draw.

“You learn how to win games,” said City SC coach Bradley Carnell, “and when you win one or two, you go on a streak. You can also learn to lose games. And then there’s the other part: you learn to draw games. So right now, where we’re so impressive in so many ways, I don’t think we’re far off. … We want to make sure we do our business away from home and all we can ask for is a clean sheet and a chance to win the game.” And I think we had that tonight. I think that’s what we’re getting away with here.”

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City SC is undefeated in its past four games and has three shutouts in those games, which is a pretty good turnaround for a team that had allowed ten goals in the four games prior to the shutout blitz. But in those three shutouts, the team only picked up five points, as it failed to score in two of those games. As a rule, teams are generally much better with draws on the road than they are with draws at home, so this one was a bit more palatable than some of the others, but it also has to fall into the category of a game that wouldn’t have taken too much time. a lot to be a win for City SC.

“You can look at it from both sides,” said goaltender Roman Burki, who is tied for the league lead with four shutouts. “I think the positive side is that we don’t lose games. We stay in the game. We survived difficult phases and we defended well. On the other hand, today, and I think it will be a little bit throughout the season, we need a lot of chances to score a goal. And today again I think we had the better chances to score, but unfortunately we didn’t score. So we have to look at that in training and keep doing it to get the confidence back in training and just work harder, maybe a little bit more focused in training.

City SC had a season-low 36.6 percent of the ball, but it was more dangerous when it had the ball than Houston. But only to a certain extent. City SC made 17 shots in the match; only three of them required a save from Houston goalie Steve Clark.

No player had a tougher time than striker Klauss, whose early-season scoring problems seemed to have disappeared after scoring goals in two consecutive games. Against Houston, Klauss took five shots, none of which were on target. It looked like he had been gifted a goal in the 56th minute by Tomas Ostrak, who set him up for an open shot from close range, but Klauss slipped on the shot, got under the ball and sent it high over the bar. In a throwback to earlier this season, Klauss lay on his back in the penalty area, a look of disbelief on his face.

Klauss wasn’t alone, he just had more opportunities than anyone else.

“We just have to be a little angrier in training if you don’t score,” Burki said. ‘Not just: OK, I’ll take the next one. We may need to analyze why we don’t score goals or why we take training seriously enough for the goal. Are we doing enough to improve and be more comfortable in tight situations in their box to make the right decision.”

“Klauss does a lot for the team,” Carnell said. “He could have rewarded himself with a big chance where he got into the corner of the 6 and just got it sky high. Too bad for him, but you wish him moments like this, because he deserves it.”

Tomas Totland had a good scoring opportunity in the first half when he came in alone on the right wing, but his shot went straight to Clark.

While Houston took 23 shots, the most for a City SC opponent this season, the shots posed little threat. Burki made a season-high nine saves, but it didn’t seem that way to him.

“I was surprised when I heard that song,” he said. “It felt like three or four saves, but if you look at the game it could go either way. And if we lose here, everyone will be frustrated because we didn’t score a goal, and the same thing happened before in other games. So we have to concentrate on finishing the games and scoring goals. So the opponent says, ‘Okay, today we have no chance of winning this match.’ ”

Burki only had to make one challenging save, in the 83rd minute, when he had to react quickly to raise his hand to punch away Artur’s shot from outside the penalty area. Most of the remaining shots were pretty much on Burki. City SC also got one break when Daniel Steres’ header from a corner hit the crossbar and bounced away.

“We forced them to shoot from distance,” Carnell said. “When they got it on goal, he made a good save at the end, definitely a clutch moment. But it’s a credit to the team that they were solid defensively.”

Samuel Adeniran, who missed the previous two games for unspecified reasons that appear to be related to work rate, returned to action, coming on as a substitute for Rasmus Alm in the 64th minute, although he did not get a shot in those 26 minutes . Yet his return to the playing field still provides a piece in the sometimes difficult attack of City SC.

Midfielder Eduard Lowen missed his seventh match with a hamstring injury, but Carnell said Lowen could rejoin the squad in a limited role in training in the coming days after the match. Although Carnell suggested Thursday that the personal issues that kept Lowen out haven’t gone away.

Despite enjoying a solid defensive performance and the improvements of his unit, Burki couldn’t escape what seemed to be on his mind.

“In the games we played, I didn’t really have many saves,” he said. “Against Austin I don’t even know if I had one save (he’s right), so we’ve definitely improved offensively. But if you don’t score goals up front, the pressure on the back line and on me increases and you know what football is like. Things happen, you never know. They need one good play and maybe they can score, but on the other hand we had three or four and we miss them. So ultimately you have to be a little more focused on the goal.”

City SC are back home next weekend, facing the Chicago Fire on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; City SC will then face LAFC the following Wednesday.


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