COMMERCE CITY, Colo. | New York City FC registered their second consecutive shutout as the Club and the Colorado Rapids played to a scoreless draw in front of 17,692 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon.
Goalkeeper Josh Saunders had a season-high seven saves as New York City FC improved to 1-0-2 (5 points) three matches into their inaugural season. The Rapids (0-0-2) picked up their second point of the year with a second 0-0 draw in 2015.
New York City FC was limited to 10 men after defender Shay Facey, making his first professional start, was shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a tackle on Juan Ramirez just outside of the 18-yard box. Saunders and the defense remained stout, keeping the Rapids out of the back of the net for a vital point on the road.
Gabriel Torres has the first real opportunity of the match for Colorado within the first 10 minutes. The midfielder controlled a bouncing ball inside the box and toe poked a shot toward the near post, but Saunders was quick to react for the save.
New York City FC, coming off a 2-0 victory over 2014 MLS Eastern Conference Champion New England on March 15, responded three minutes later. Sebastian Velasquez floated a ball over the top of the Rapids’ back line to Adam Nemec. The Slovakian forward tapped the ball past on-rushing Colorado goalie Clint Irwin, but couldn’t chase it down before the ball trickled out of bounds for a goal kick.
Colorado, which saw its winless streak increase to 16 matches, had the better of the opportunities in the first half. Vicente Sanchez’s left-footed shot from outside the box went right at Saunders in the 12th minute, while Marc Burch’s 30-yard left-footed strike went just wide four minutes later.
Dillon Powers’ header went over the bar in the 22nd minute and his left-footed shot was dragged across goal in the 35th as the clubs went into the locker room at halftime in a deadlock.
New York City FC had the first chance of the second half. Two minutes in captain David Villa dropped the ball off to Andrew Jacobson, but the midfielder’s effort from outside the area sliced over the net.
The veteran Saunders, who has had saves nominated for MLS Save of the Week in the prior two weeks, came up with a pair of big stops in the ensuing 15 minutes.
Burch had a free kick, but Saunders palmed it over the bar in the 52nd minute. The goalie stood his ground again 11 minutes later as Torres received a through ball in the middle of a pair of New York City FC defenders and put a shot on net, only to be denied.
Villa, who scored the Club’s first-ever home goal at Yankee Stadium against the Revolution, followed with a slew of scoring chances. He tried curling one to the top far corner but it went over the net in the 67th. In the 74th minute, rookie Khiry Shelton held up the play with his back to the net and dropped the ball off to Villa, but his attempt went over the net once more.
Spain’s all-time scorer tried to sneak a ball in the near post three minutes later, but Irwin was quick to react. The Rapids goalie also got a touch on Villa’s dangerous pass across the 6-yard box in the 80th minute as Shelton loomed for an easy opportunity.
New York City FC returns to Yankee Stadium to face 2013 MLS Champions Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 28.