CHARLESTON, S.C. | New York City FC ended their inaugural preseason the same way it began.
Ned Grabavoy and Adam Nemec scored first-half goals and Mix added a fantastic volleyed strike in the second half as the Club beat the Charleston Battery 3-0 on Saturday night in their final preseason friendly ahead of the 2015 Major League Soccer season.
New York City FC, which opens their first MLS season at fellow expansion side Orlando City SC on March 8, won their first-ever preseason friendly – a 2-0 victory over Scottish side St Mirren on February 10.
Following a tour in England, the Club participated in the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C. New York City FC went 1-1-1 in the round-robin event. The Houston Dynamo were the tournament’s winners for the third time.
"I liked that we didn't give up a goal and I liked that we created good chances and scored three goals," head coach Jason Kreis said. "All in all I feel good. We'll take this as a positive and I feel we're headed in the right direction to start the season."
On Saturday night, New York City FC had the better chances early on as captain David Villa was denied by Battery goalie Odisnel Cooper in the 18th minute. It seemed only a matter of time until the match’s breakthrough.
Eight minutes later it happened.
Mix was given time and space near midfield and carried the ball forward. He dropped it off to fellow midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, who one-touched it to Grabavoy. Grabavoy sliced the ball with the outside of his right foot past Cooper for a 1-0 advantage after 26 minutes.
Grabavoy, a two-time MLS Cup winner, was also instrumental in the Club’s next goal. He had a probing run from the left side into the center of the 18-yard box before laying the ball off to Nemec. The Slovakian forward proceeded to find the back of the net, doubling New York City FC’s lead over the USL side in the 37th minute.
"We really wanted to put an emphasis on getting on the front foot and being aggressive for the full match," Grabavoy said. "We put the foot on the gas a little bit. We looked sharp for the most part, but we still have work to do."
On the cusp of halftime, Charleston forward Dane Kelly ran onto a bouncing ball near the top of the 18. Jostling with a defender and with New York City FC goalkeeper Josh Saunders bearing down on him, Kelly’s chip shot went over the crossbar as the score remained 2-0 at the interval.
Charleston was reduced to 10 men when Navion Boyd was shown a red card in the 51st minute. Boyd tackled defender New York City FC Jason Hernandez, but it was an unnecessary hand to the face that resulted in his sending off.
New York City FC utilized their one-man advantage, adding to their lead in the 64th minute. The Battery turned the ball over at midfield. Again, it was Grabavoy who was part of another build up that lead to a goal.
He passed it left to Javier Calle, who came on for Nemec just two minutes prior. The Colombian midfielder fed the ball across to Mix, who volleyed it past Cooper from outside of the 18-yard box for a 3-0 lead.
Charleston’s best opportunity to get on the scoreboard came off a corner kick. In the 76th minute, Sebastien Thuriere one-timed the corner, but Saunders was quick to react, parrying the ball away to preserve the clean sheet.
"We wanted to end the trip and the preseason with a good result," defender Chris Wingert said. "I thought we played well."
Starting XI: Saunders, Brovsky, Wingert, Hernandez, Williams, Jacobson, Mix, Grabavoy, Ballouchy, Villa, Nemec
Subs: Shelton for Villa (45), Calle for Nemec (62), Kwame for Hernandez (65), McNamara for Ballouchy (75), Poku for Jacobson (86)
Watch the replay of the entire match below: