Own Goal is the hero in New York City FC home opener

New York City FC
New York City FC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, New York City FC faced Inter Miami CF in their home opener for the 2023 Major League Soccer season.  After a slow start, and despite the current roster, expectations were still high.  The Pigeons tend to perform well at Yankee Stadium, and of course supporters were hoping to grab the first win of the season.  Plus, the team has lost just once against the Florida side.

Of course, Miami has had a good start to the season by winning their first two matches.  They probably wanted revenge after NYCFC caused their playoff exit last season.

Additionally, Nick Cushing mostly put out a strong Starting XI with the current roster.  James Sands, despite having to be subbed out last week, and Santiago Rodríguez, who came on as a substitute in the last game, both started.  Alfredo Morales and Tayvon Gray, who were both questionable, were available off the bench, but came on during the second half. 

With the strongest squad of the season, NYCFC won, 1-0.  Without scoring a goal, they grabbed all three points, and won another home opener at Yankee Stadium.

New York City FC wins first match in the home opener

It was clear New York City FC was struggling with goal scoring in the first half.  Thankfully, the legend of soccer everywhere, Own Goal, made an appearance to put the Pigeons in front.  The team was given a free kick, and the ball was put perfectly into the box.  It looked possible for Maxime Chanot to get his head on the ball, but Christopher McVey beat him to it.  The Miami player gave up his team’s first goal of the season… by scoring an own goal.

The lack of goal scoring continued in the second half, and just proved the need for a consistent, goal-scoring striker.  However, the attacking chances were there, and players like Gabriel Pereira and Rodríguez were the biggest threats throughout the game.   

In total, NYCFC had 13 shots, with seven on target.  Truthfully, they might have had another goal or two if it was not for Miami’s goalkeeper, Drake Callender.  The California native had a masterclass performance, with the exception of the own goal that was given up.  Nonetheless, he had seven saves, and his highlight reel saves kept the Pigeons off the scoresheet. 

Fortunately, the lack of goals was made up by the defensive effort in the back.  The captain, Chanot, led the ship, and kept the backline in check.  They limited Miami’s chances, for the away side had just six shots.  Based on their possession, one might have assumed they had more opportunities, but NYCFC’s backline repeatedly forced them to regroup. Meanwhile, Luis Barraza had three saves on the night, including a vital stop in the 75th minute.  

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In the end, the brief appearance by the hero, Own Goal, allowed New York City FC to grab their first win of the season.  Hopefully, the Bronx side will find their scoring boots when they take on D.C. United next weekend.