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NYCFC Struggles Out of the Gate, Fall 2-0 in Season Opener

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Feb 25, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New York City forward Talles Magno (43) plays the ball as Nashville SC defender Shaq Moore (18) reacts to the ball being out of bounds during the second half at Geodis Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After an off-season with several key departures, the new look New York City Football Club struggled to get things going, losing to Nashville on the road 2-0. Luis Barraza made his first MLS start since July of 2021 and made 2 of 4 saves, but the club picked up 4 yellow cards and only mustered 2 shots on net themselves in the shutout loss. “I don’t think we had enough of the ball to have control of the game, they had too many of the set plays” Head coach Nick Cushing said. “Disappointed, but we’ll get on the training pitch and work on it.”

Also admitting that Nashville is a direct team, NYCFC fell behind 1-0 at the 34th minute after a free kick lead to a Barraza diving save, but was unable to contain the rebound, setting up Jordan Zimmerman for an easy 1-0 score. The second half saw a more cohesive unit, but reigning Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar entered at the 75th minute, and in 5 minutes set up the second goal with a right to left pass to Jacob Schaffelbeg for the 2-0 score and the final.

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Up next, NYCFC travels to Chicago to take on the Fire next Saturday at 8:30pm Eastern, a club that is projected to struggle again this season, but added veteran forward Kei Kamara who sits third all time in goals in MLS with 139.

Feb 25, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville SC defender Daniel Lovitz (2) takes a corner kick against the New York City during second half at Geodis Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

4 Notes:

1) The Gents in Blue picked up 4 yellow cards in this match which draws comparisons to last season when they were 6th in the league on the season with 80.

2) Opposite Luis Barraza was Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis, picking up the league’s first Clean Sheet for 2023. Willis, who lead the league in Clean Sheets in 2020 & 2021, now has 32 since joining Nashville in 2020.

3) With the loss NYCFC falls to 0-2-1 against Nashville, first falling 3-1 back on September 3, 2021 and following up with a 0-0 tie a month later.

4) Their record however against the Chicago Fire has been better, going 10-3-5, including winning the last 3 matches. As mentioned, the Fire added veteran Kei Kamara in trade with Montreal this week. Kamara, who is now playing with his TENTH MLS team after requesting a trade a month ago. Kamara should be a welcome addition to the front; being the third highest goal scorer in MLS history and joining a club that was second worst in the league in goals last year with 39.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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