NYCFC Loses First Match in its History
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, MARCH 30- The NYCFC (1‐1‐2) lost its first match in its history at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. Sporting Kansas City (1‐1‐2) was the victor by a score of 1‐0. The win was the first of the season for the visitors, and the seventh time they have handed its first defeat to a club in its new venue.
The match sold out with a crowd of 27,545 who attended the second match of the home club in the iconic Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Although the home opener drew in excess of 43,000, the seating allocated for NYCFC matches was approximately 27,000.
New York area native Chris Wingert praised the loyalty of the club’s supporters, “It was really impressive for how many people came to watch us.” The Manhattan resident spoke of his trip to the Bronx, “I took the subway. It was a nightmare. I don’t know it well enough yet.”
The only goal of the match was scored at the 12 minute mark in the first half on a throw‐in by Matt Besler, a veteran of 25 Caps for the USMNT, which was knocked into the goal on a header by KC defenseman Ike Opara, his second goal of the new season. NYCFC coach Jason Kreis described the most crucial moment of the match, “We put our tallest guy on him, but Opara just beat him to the ball.”
NYC defenseman Chris Wingert, who has started all four matches, admitted, “It was frustrating to give up a goal on a throw‐in.”
Kreis spoke of the difference of how his club fared in each half of the contest, “In the second half, they did everything they could to get the tying goal. I don’t know why it takes a whole half.” He believes the club should start with more energy from the opening moment of a match, especially in a home contest.
A disappointment to the club and the fans was the absence of Spanish superstar David Villa. After suffering an ankle injury earlier in the year, Villa missed his first contest of the season. Kreis described the situation to reporters after the contest, “Yesterday we took him [Villa] out early to the training center. We quickly decided it wasn’t going to work. He’s managed through the pain and swelling for the past three weeks.” The coach believes the bye week will allow Villa to return to action for the next NYCFC match against the Philadelphia Union on April 11.
Kreis did not believe that the absence of Villa or forward Adam Nemec, who had started the first three matches, and was representing Slovakia on the weekend, made the difference in the result of the match.
The NYCFC coach was also pleased with the three substitutes (Tony Taylor, Kwadwo Poku and Thomas McNamara) who saw action, “All three substitutions were good. I was really proud of the effort the guys put in.”
Kreis uttered a mixed summary of his club to this point in its first season, “We need to improve in all phases, [but] there are still signs that I can say we’re going to be a good team.”
The next two NYCFC matches are a home and home with the Philadelphia Union. After a road match in Philadelphia on April 11, NYCFC will return to Yankee Stadium on April 16 to face the same opponent.
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