Sporting KC Goals:
NYCFC Goals: Moralez 31', Medina 53'
A Quick Look
New York City FC kicked off Season 4 in fine style with an authoritative 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City.
... and we're back!
NYCFC began their fourth season of play in Kansas City where they faced down a tough assignment against last season's best defense in MLS.
Looking to better last year's second-place finish overall, City made a confident, fluent start, immediately dominating the ball and forcing Kansas back inside their own defensive third.
On 20', Alex Ring tested Tim Melia with a fierce dipping strike from distance but the first goal of 2018 would arrive 11 minutes later courtesy of the excellent Moralez.
Villa's dip of the shoulder, charge down the left side and perfectly-weighted center created it for Maxi who slid in to convert what was his sixth goal for the Club.
It was no less than the Boys in Blue deserved after a commanding start to the game but it could and maybe should have been even better as Villa and Ben Sweat broke clear in the final seconds of the half, with 40 yards of space, no defenders and only the goalkeeper to beat.
With Sweat ahead of the Spanish striker, the pass wasn't on and Christian Lobato was able to make a heroic sprint back to intercept and keep Kansas within a goal going in at the break.
However, NYCFC wouldn't have to wait long to double their advantage and it was the new DP who lit up his debut.
Medina was at the end of the chain to deliver an impudent lift over Melia for 0-2 but the move that went before it was just as good as the finish as City broke at pace, overloading the left side, allowing Sweat to pick out the Paraguayan international with an inch-perfect cross.
As City looked to be coasting towards victory, there were two moments of VAR-related drama in a frenetic final ten minutes as referee Mark Geiger pointed to the spot following a challenge from Chanot but the cheers inside the stadium soon turned to heckles as the replays showed the Luxembourg international won the ball, meaning the decision was reversed.
Chanot was spared on that occasion but with 5' to play he was shown a straight red card on review for denial of a goalscoring opportunity for Fernandes.
As a result, NYCFC knew they would have to defend diligently to see out the game with ten men but they did so with distinction to earn all three points.
Kansas came on strong in the final quarter of the game to try and rescue something from the match and they would have been handed a lifeline on 80', if not for a VAR intervention after Chanot's tackle on Daniel Salloi.
Geiger referred to the review system and justice was served, as replays showed Maxime had got the ball with his tackle, preserving the 2-0 lead.
NYCFC.com Star of the Game
The Argentine scored City's first goal of 2018 but that only told a fraction of the story.
All night long, Maxi was a malevolent presence for the KC backline, knitting together moves and rotating the ball intelligently to bring his teammates into play.
Unfortunate not to earn his side a penalty with 20' to play, Maxi kicked off his second season at the Club on fire.
Social Post of the Match
- Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Anton Tinnerholm and Jesus Medina made their NYCFC debuts
- NYCFC now has a W2-L2-D0 record vs. Sporting KC
- Maxi Moralez scored NYCFC's first goal of 2018
- It was the Argentine's sixth goal for NYCFC
- Jesus Medina scored on his MLS and NYCFC debut
- This was NYCFC's first-ever clean sheet in a season opener
How We Lined Up
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm, Callens, Chanot, Sweat, Ring, Herrera, Moralez (Ibeagha 89'), Medina (Tajouri-Shradi 69'), Wallace, Villa (C) (Matarrita 85')
Subs: Stuver, Abdul-Salaam, Awuah, McNamara
NYCFC hosts LA Galaxy in the Home Opener next Sunday March 11 at 5pm ET at Yankee Stadium. Get your tickets below…