NYCFC Goals: Moralez (pen) 27', Mitriţă 40'
No more tune-ups, New York City FC wrapped on preseason 2019 with a 2-0 friendly win over Nashville SC.
Two days on from City's narrow 1-0 defeat to Minnesota in Orlando, Domènec Torrent named a strong XI for this final preseason test, fielding all three Designated Players in the same XI for the first time: Jesus Medina, Alexandru Mitriţă and Maxi Moralez.
Mitriţă was the only new signing in a familiar XI as City looked to build up some momentum going into Season 5.
On a rainy night in Music City, NYCFC made a controlled start to the game, gaining early touches across the back and middle thirds.
A first look at goal arrived on 15' when Alex Ring took on a fierce drive on the volley from 25 yards which skidded along the slick surface and only narrowly missed the target.
Jonathan Lewis was next to threaten when Ben Sweat spotted his run and slid through an inch-perfect through ball but unfortunately the new U.S. international couldn't covert the chance, skewing wide.
On 27', an even better opportunity to take the lead fell City's way when a handball in the box presented Maxi Moralez with the chance to score from the spot.
It was an opportunity he eagerly snapped up, rolling the ball into the bottom corner and sending Nashville GK Matt Pickens the wrong way for the 2018 Team MVP's first goal of preseason.
One became two in spectacular fashion on 40' when new signing Alexandru Mitriţă doubled his tally for preseason with an even better goal than his first vs. AIK in Abu Dhabi.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) February 23, 2019
Welcome to America, Alexandru Mitriță pic.twitter.com/4PUsPF0DTr
Like that goal, Mitriţă slalomed in from the left side but this time the Romanian international went it alone, powering through a Nashville defender's challenge before wrapping his foot around a stinging curling strike into the corner of the net.
It was a stunning shot which gave City a 2-0 lead going in at the interval.
Torrent made no changes at the break, making good on his pledge to give starters 60-90 minutes ahead of the big MLS opener vs. Orlando next weekend.
Valentin Castellanos was the first off the bench on 58' replacing Lewis, but it was Mitriţă who next went close on 64' with an explosive free-kick which was beaten away by a diving Connor Sparrow, the goalkeeper who had just entered the game for the hosts.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi came on with 12 minutes remaining and he almost made an immediate impact, supplying Ebenezer Ofori who broke through on goal with a couple of clean touches before a timely slide from a Nashville defender ended his progress into the box
Ofori had a better chance on 85' after some intricate build-up play involving Maxi Moralez on the top of the box but the Ghanian was unable to bring his shot under the crossbar.
Torrent's side kept the pressure on in the remaining time, with Tajouri-Shradi especially lively in the final third, but the first meeting between NYCFC and Nashville would end 2-0 in NYC's favor.
Next up, it's Orlando City on March 2 with points on the line.
NYCFC XI: Johnson; Sweat (Rocha 73'), Callens (Ibeagha 67'), Chanot, Tinnerholm (Scally 83') Ring (C), Ofori, Moralez; Lewis (Castellanos 59'), Mitriță (Sands 76'), Medina (Tajouri-Shradi 76')
NYCFC Subs: Barraza, Torres, Bedoya, Parks, Haak, Mohamed, Stuver, Caldwell