LA Galaxy Goals: Hernandez 52'
New York City Football Club Goals: Andrade 37', Denis 82'
New York City Football Club’s fourth preseason game of 2023 saw the Boys in Blue play out a 2-1 win on the road thanks to goals from Thiago Andrade and Johnny Denis.
Taking on LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park, the match offered Head Coach Nick Cushing another opportunity to evaluate his roster as they moved a step closer toward the new season.
Cushing opted for a strong starting XI and utilized a 4-3-3 formation to begin the game, with several young players handed the chance to impress from the bench.
An even start to the game saw both sides enjoy spells of possession with neither able to fashion a clear-cut opportunity.
NYCFC were keen to impose their short passing style and central to that approach was goalkeeper Luis Barraza – his range of distribution proved vital in establishing a rhythm early on.
When the Boys in Blue didn't have the ball their intense pressing was clear to see - with the visitors almost claiming turnovers high up the field on several occassions.
In the 37th minute, NYCFC's pressure finally told when they took the lead.
The move was owed in large part to Alfredo Morales found Thiago Andrade with a long pass in behind - the Brazilian bringing it down with the outside of his right foot before chipping it over Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond.
At the other end, a well-timed block by Tayvon Gray and pressure from Morales put an end to Raheem Edwards attempt to restore parity.
A freekick from Riqi Puig would be the last notable action of the half, and allow NYCFC to enter the locker room a goal up after 45 minutes.
The second half saw an early goal as the Galaxy pulled level through Javier Hernandez in the 52nd minute. The hosts began to grow in confidence, and that tested NYCFC's defensive resolve.
Just after the hour mark Keaton Parks was given the chance to test Bond in goal, but he was unable to get the ball past the Englishman.
Both teams were keen to control the ball. Some promising play by Mitja Ilenič was matched by solid defending from teammate Tony Alfaro as he cleared the ball away from danger.
On a night of fine margins, it would be NYCFC that stole ahead in the final ten minutes of regulation time, after the ball popped away from Bond.
Johnny Denis was credited with the goal to complete a big week for the forward - one in which he celebrated his 25th birthday and a call-up to the Honduran national team.
In response, the Galaxy's veteran winger Douglas Costa found himself with the space to shoot in the final third but it was deflected into the side-netting.
There was still time for some late-game drama as the Galaxy were awarded a spot kick in injury-time. Costa was given the chance to level the scores, but he was denied thanks to a great save from Matt Freese.
That stop would preserve NYCFC's lead and confirm a 2-1 preseason success for Cushing's men.
NYCFC XI: Barraza; Gray, Martins, Chanot, O'Toole; Morales, Parks, Haak; Jasson, Magno, Andrade.
NYCFC will kick off the 2023 MLS season on Feb. 25 when we visit Nashville SC at GEODIS Park (4:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).