CHARLESTON, S.C. | New York City FC got its first taste of Major League Soccer with a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC in front of a sold-out crowd Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.
Kaka gave fellow expansion side Orlando City SC a 1-0 advantage in the 31st minute of the Carolina Challenge Cup match-up after a nifty give-and-go. The designated player received the final pass and aimed his shot to the corner of the far post past an outstretching Josh Saunders.
“I saw a good opponent that was willing and able to punish us on a couple of silly mistakes,” New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis said. “I think we’re being just a little bit arrogant about some of the stuff we’re trying to play out of. Kaka was getting too much time and space around our final third. As we saw he’s a gifted player and he punished us.”
That score remained at halftime.
David Villa, New York City FC’s designated player who scored the Club’s first-ever preseason goal in a 2-0 win over St Mirren on Feb. 10, had a hand in the equalizer.
Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer found rookie Khiry Shelton with a through ball. The 2014 Pac-12 Player of the Year fended off a defender while slotting it home in the 56th minute.
“It was a great pass from David,” Shelton said. “I was just there to finish it.”
Orlando City SC had an opportunity to steal a victory in stoppage time, but a header went over the net.
Villa, New York City FC’s captain, had the match’s first real scoring chance. His long distance effort beat the Orlando City SC goalie, but clattered off the crossbar in the 10th minute.
Josh Williams had a chance to level prior to halftime. The defender made a run toward the back post, but his header sailed past the goal.
Shelton and defender Shay Facey came on as substitutes in the 48th minute and the striker needed less than 10 minutes to make an impact.
“We were just trying to bring the energy,” Shelton said. “That’s what we wanted to do coming off the bench.”
New York City FC faces Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening in the second round of the Carolina Challenge Cup before finishing up play against hosts Charleston Battery on Saturday.
Watch a replay of the match below.