NYCFC II Goals: Denis 9, Gloster 36’
New England Revolution II Goals: Rivera 6’, 70’
NYCFC II began their MLS Next Pro journey on Sunday afternoon as they welcomed New England Revolution II to Belson Stadium.
Head Coach Matt Pilkington named a strong side to begin the campaign as both sides looked to establish control of proceedings early on.
NYCFC II found themselves behind early on through a 7th-minute strike from Damian Rivera. The hosts hit back almost immediately, however, after a well-crafted move down the right-hand side allowed Kevin O’Toole to cutely lay it off for John Denis to fire home.
On a blustery day the wind was hard to ignore, but that didn’t distract the hosts from their attempts to keep the ball on the deck and play through their opponents.
That allowed them to engineer several half-chances, but nothing that could give them the advantage in the early stages.
On the half-hour mark, the visitors were handed a great chance to retake the lead from the penalty spot after a foul by Jack Beer.
Rivera stepped up to take the kick, but he was unable to beat Luis Barraza from 12 yards out as the goalkeeper stood tall and repelled Rivera’s effort with his feet.
In another instance of parity between the sides, NYCFC’s next opportunity at goal would also come via the penalty spot after a foul on Jonathan Jimenez.
Defender Chris Gloster promptly grabbed the ball, and after placing it down stepped up with confidence to dispatch it to the goalkeeper’s right.
The second period began with NYCFC II searching for a third goal and they came close early on via a dangerous freekick in the left channel, but it was well held by the goalkeeper.
At the other end, the 54th minute saw Manny Silva come close for the visitors as he dragged a shot narrowly wide of Barraza’s goal.
The second half brought about a first substitution for NYCFC II as Massimo Yankowitz departed in place of Piero Elias.
New England were level with twenty minutes to play and it was once again Rivera that proved decisive for the visitors as he fired in from a narrow-angle.
NYCFC II continued to push for a third as the game ticked toward the end of regulation time and Justin Haak came close after a driving run toward the box that was snuffed out by the visiting defence.
The final chance of the game fell to Denis from a freekick but he could not convert. Ultimately the two sides could not be separated during 90 minutes, and that saw both earn a point. The bonus point was awarded to New England after a penalty shootout in which they won out 4-3.