Portland Goals: Blanco 27', Adi 38', Mabiala 66'
New York City FC went down to their first defeat of 2018 at Providence Park on Sunday night.
Goals from Sebastian Blanco, Fanendo Adi and Larrys Mabiala did the damage as the Portland Timbers ran out 3-0 victors.
City arrived for their second bout in the Rose City fresh from extending their impressive unbeaten start to the season thanks to a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Atlanta United last Sunday.
Head Coach Patrick Vieira made four changes to the lineup which started in Georgia, one enforced upon him, as the injured Isi Tajouri-Shradi made way for David Villa, who returned for his first start in more than a month.
Elsewhere, Ronald Matarrita came in for Ben Sweat, Ebenezer Ofori tapped in for Yangel Herrera, and Rodney Wallace started on his first return to a Providence Park he spent five happy years calling home.
Hosts Portland, buoyed by their first win of the season last time out, shot out of the blocks with the influential Sebastian Blanco going close twice in the opening five minutes, first shooting over the top after he faced down the City defense, before he turned wide a cross to the back post with the goal gaping.
The visitors solidified and prevented any further advances into their penalty area until the 27th minute when Blanco finally found his mark.
This time it was a clever looping header which Alexander Callens and Sean Johnson could only watch dip under the crossbar and into the far corner of the net.
Ten minutes later, the lead was doubled as Fanendo Adi tapped in the rebound at the back post after Diego Valeri had worked Johnson with a rip across goal.
That second goal compounded a disappointing first half for the Boys in Blue as they were unable to get into their usual rhythm and ask any difficult questions of the Portland backline.
David Villa, chasing his 400th career goal, provided the one dangerous moment of the first period, when his shot was tipped wide of the target well by Jeff Attinella on 41’.
More of that was required after the break if New York wanted to preserve its unbeaten record and it was an improved visiting side that emerged from the locker room.
The speed of passing had quickened and twice around the hour mark only a couple of last ditch smothers from Attinella prevented City from getting back into the game.
Vieira sent in Jesus Medina to try and conjure up some magic in the closing 30’ but Portland scored the game’s third goal against the run of play on 66’ when Larrys Mabiala thumped home a header from a set piece.
The game all but over, the Boys in Blue carried on fighting until the end and could have had a penalty on 88' when Charra took out Villa inside the box but it really wasn't to be NYCFC's day as the protests were waved away.
With Medina freshly introduced from the bench, NYC were looking briefly back to their fluent best until Mabiala crashed home his header to make it 3-0.
City had certainly looked like the likeliest to score the next goal until that moment but the day belonged to Portland.
NYCFC.com Star of the Game…
One who didn't deserve to be on the losing side, leading by example, as ever.
Social Post of the Match…
Stats and Milestones
- NYCFC suffered its first defeat of 2018 (P8 W5 L1 D2)
- This was the first time City have failed to score this season
- This was NYCFC's heaviest defeat since the 4-0 loss in Toronto last July
How They Lined Up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm, Chanot, Callens, Matarrita (McNamara 70'), Ring, Ofori (Herrera 79'), Moralez, Wallace (Medina 60'), Berget, Villa
SUBS: Stuver, Abdul-Salaam, Ibeagha, Sweat
We're back in the Bronx on Sunday April 29 vs. FC Dallas. Get your tickets below...