NYCFC loses 1-0 after failing to score in Charlotte on MLS Opening Day

  • NYCFC continued their goal struggles as they began the 2024 season
  • The inability to score contributed to their loss

Mounsef Bakrar of NYCFC
Mounsef Bakrar of NYCFC / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, New York City FC opened the 2024 Major League Soccer season against Charlotte FC on the road.  After some exciting signings this offseason, there is some hope the new season will be better compared to 2023.  Doubt remains though, for many feel Nick Cushing is not the right head coach to lead the team.

Nonetheless, everyone wanted the Pigeons to win their first game.  Road fixtures tend to be problematic, so a win would be the perfect start to the season.

On paper, NYCFC was the stronger side too.  Cushing did put out a solid Starting XI.  However, there were questions on why Talles Magno was on the bench.  He did have a bit of a knock during the preseason, so that could always be the reason why.  Hopefully, that was the case, for the Brazilian proved he deserves to start when he is on the wings.

Alas, the road woes continued, and Charlotte is still unbeaten against the New York side.  NYCFC sadly fell to the home team 1-0.  It was not the way everyone wanted the season to begin.

NYCFC's goal struggles continued on 2024 MLS Opening Day

The match did not start well for NYCFC.  They were shaky, and unfortunately, the Boys in Blue went down in the eighth minute.  Charlotte FC scored from a corner kick, for a header by Adilson Malanda right in front of the goal put the Crown in front.

The Pigeons spent most of the first half trying to catch up with the level of the opposing team.  Eventually, their play improved, but the goal struggles from last season haunted them in those first 45 minutes.

In the second half, it was not any different.  Arguably, NYCFC had a decent match.  It was not their worst performance, but not their best either.  They had some chances, but none of their players could find the back of the net.  The goal-scoring struggles continued as the Bronx side entered the 2024 season.  Sure, it is the first game, but alarm bells are ringing.  They are not loud, but they are there.

Despite the loss, there were some good moments.  For starters, Jovan Mijatović made his debut for the club when he was substituted on in the 62nd minute.  The Serbian had an okay time during his first MLS minutes.  He did not have the full preseason with his new team, so it is expected he will need time to adjust.

Moreover, Matt Freese had a good time between the sticks.  He saved a penalty kick in the 66th minute.  Charlotte’s Kerwin Vargas had a chance to put his team up 2-0, but the NYCFC keeper had other ideas. His five saves kept his team’s hopes alive.

As the Pigeons train over the next week, Cushing has to make goals a priority.  The head coach must unlock the difficulties that continued into this season.  Sure, the signing of Mijatović should help tremendously.  Others should have scored more last year and even in Saturday’s fixture.  Santiago Rodríguez had a perfect opportunity with a mostly open goal in the 76th minute.  Yet, he sent the ball over the bar. 

It is only one game.  There is time for NYCFC to find themselves and turn into a competitive team.  Sadly, Charlotte still has their number, and the Pigeons start the year with zero points.