New York City Football Club Goals: Christopher McVey (OG) 36'
Inter Miami CF Goals:
New York City Football Club claimed a first victory of the 2023 MLS season with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph against Inter Miami CF. Christopher McVey's first-half own-goal separated the sides in the Club's Home Opener at Yankee Stadium, setting the City Boys off and running on Matchday Three of the new campaign.
Stepping out onto home turf for the first time this year, having last graced New York soil in October, City were eager to kickstart the new term, and claim a sixth Home Opener victory in the Bronx, while Miami were looking to extend their 100% record with three from three in 2023.
Phil Neville’s side had been NYCFC’s most recent visitors almost five months ago, as the two sides met in Round One of the playoffs. Triumphing 3-0 that night, Nick Cushing’s side and were eager to continue their impressive record against the Herons, having won six of seven encounters in all competitions, including all three previous home fixtures without conceding.
Head Coach Cushing made one change to the side that drew away at Chicago Fire on Matchday Two, as Santiago Rodríguez replaced Andres Jasson for his first start since returning to the Club as a Designated Player. The Uruguayan occupied the #10 role in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Alfredo Morales and Tayvon Gray were also named on the bench, having missed the trip to Illinois through injury.
The early exchanges bore little in terms of goalmouth action, with the game sparking into life on the quarter-hour mark.
In search of his second goal in as many games, Gabriel Pereira curled straight at Drake Callender, and spurned a golden chance moments later, misjudging Keaton Parks’ delivery at the backpost as the ball rolled agonizingly across goal.
Miami had the ball in the net on 20 minutes when Josef Martínez thought he had opened his goalscoring account for his new side, but the offside flag was raised to correctly rule out the strike.
Luis Barraza was then called into action to claim a looping header from the Venezuelan striker, before City then saw a goal disallowed when Matías Pellegrini was denied a birthday strike against his former Club, smashing home a superb volley on the rebound from a Parks’ piledriver - but also from an offside position.
Franco Negri and Martínez then blazed over for the visitors, before the deadlock was broken through a stroke of good fortune ten minutes before the break. Awarded a free-kick on the left-flank, City were handed a gift as McVey inadvertently sliced into his own net from Rodríguez's teasing delivery for our first home goal of the year.
Though Martínez continued to threaten at the other end, forcing Barraza into another smart stop, the hosts headed into the break with a slender advantage.
Another Rodríguez set-piece shortly after the restart yielded the first chance of the second half, as Parks nodded the delivery just wide, and the same combination perhaps should have made it 2-0 on 55' - only for Parks' close-range attempt to bounce wide of the nearpost.
The second period proved a stop-start affair with limited chances for either side. Rodríguez was denied a goal on his first start back, looking to bend into the far corner but thwarted by the outstretched arm of the impressive Callender.
As Miami chased a late leveler, the game opened up, and the hosts looked to threaten on the counter-attack. Barraza batted away Negri's powerful effort, while a Braian Cufré strike suffered the same fate at the other end, after a neat City move across the box.
The Boys in Blue sought to effectively kill the contest late on - Rodríguez firing over, and drawing another great save from Callender, while substitute Andres Jasson saw a penalty shout waved away under pressure from Jean Mota - but one goal would prove enough.
Despite six minutes of injury time, the City Boys saw the game out for a first victory and first clean sheet of 2023, celebrating our Homecoming in style and continuing our excellent Home Opener run in the Bronx.
How We Lined Up
Star of the Match
NYCFC are on home soil again next weekend, welcoming D.C. United to Yankee Stadium on Saturday, March 18 at 7:30pm ET. Tickets for the clash are on sale. Don't miss your chance to cheer on the Boys in Blue.
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