Houston Dynamo Goals: Bassi (p) 55'
New York City Football Club Goals:
New York City Football Club fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Houston Dynamo on Saturday night. Amine Bassi’s second-half penalty separated the sides at the Shell Energy Stadium, bringing the visitors’ three-game unbeaten run to an end.
The clash marked only the sixth meeting between the two sides, and the first since 2019. City were seeking a third win over the Texan outfit, and a second victory on Houston soil.
Collecting seven points from our first four games in 2023, Nick Cushing’s side had equaled our second-best start to an MLS season – bettered only by our 2018 campaign, which also yielded our most recent visit to the Dynamo.
With Maxime Chanot and Mitja Ilenič away on international duty, Head Coach Cushing made one change to the starting XI, as Alfredo Morales stepped in for his first start of the season. Meanwhile, new loan signing Richy Ledezma was introduced from the bench for his first NYCFC appearance.
The pre-match discussion had predicted a possession battle, and the opening 45 saw both teams enjoy spells of the ball with chances at a premium, and neither goalkeeper tested. While City looked to build from the back, Houston sought a more direct approach.
Héctor Herrera crafted the game’s first sight of goal, attempting an ambitious long-range chip, but the effort was too high to trouble Luis Barraza.
Brooklyn Raines then skewed an effort wide of the far post on the half-volley, before Daniel Steres headed over for the hosts, while Santiago Rodríguez also fired off-target at the other end from the edge of the box.
Houston broke the deadlock from the spot nine minutes after the break, following a VAR check – the referee ruling Herrera had been upended by Tayvon Gray, after the home side had won the ball back in the City penalty area. Bassi stepped up to convert in off the post for his second successful spot-kick in as many games.
The Boys in Blue responded well to the setback, and came inches away from an immediate leveler, as Santiago Rodríguez latched onto James Sands’ long-ball, cut back with a neat turn, and looped the ball over Steve Clark – only for the ball to bounce agonizingly wide.
The Dynamo almost doubled their lead shortly after the hour, when Corey Baird crashed an effort off the crossbar, and Barraza had to be alert to thwart Sebastian Ferreira.
Desperate for a route back into the game, City threw everything at the hosts with a late flurry – piling on the pressure with a series of set-pieces.
Cushing introduced new recruit Ledezma, as well as Andres Jasson, Kevin O'Toole and Thiago Andrade, in a bid inject more pace, and creativity.
Encouraged by eight minutes of injury time, the Boys in Blue pressed forward. Gray stung the palms of Clark in with a powerful strike when a corner was only half-cleared, but it would prove the closest the visitors came to an equalizer, and Houston held on for the points.
How We Lined Up
Star of the Match
NYCFC are on the road again in a week's time, traveling to New England Revolution on Saturday, April 1 in a 7:30pm ET kick-off at Gillette Stadium.
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