New York City FC 0, Sporting Kansas City 1 | MLS Match Recap
NEW YORK, NY. — On a chilly Saturday evening in the Bronx, New York City FC's unbeaten streak came to a halt as visiting Sporting Kansas City found their way into the win column for the first time this season, 1-0.
Ike Opara found the back of the net in the thirteenth minute with aplomb, thunderously heading home a long, looping throw-in from skipper Matt Besler. It proved to be the difference in the game.
A sold-out crowd of 27,545 watched the home team struggle with buildup in the first half, with New York City talisman David Villa glaringly absent with a strained groin. Space simply wasn't opening up for the sky blues getting forward, while the visitors dictated the pace up and down in the first forty-five minutes.
Sporting winger Graham Zusi and lead striker Dom Dwyer caused heaps of trouble on the attack, linking up well with plenty of wide-open spaces to run through, while Benny Feilhaber pulled the strings in midfield.
- Opta Chalkboard: Feilhaber pulls the strings in midfield in SKC's first win of season
Zusi came off with an injury in the 38th minute, spoiling an otherwise sound win for the visitors. Picking up the slack in the wide spaces once the U.S. national teamer left the pitch was Colombian Jimmy Medranda, who enjoyed his first start of the season.
Changes came at the half for New York City, with team debuts for Tony Taylor, Tom McNamara, and Kwadwo Poku. While SKC was undoubtedly the more dangerous team on the night, the second half substitutes added bite to the NYCFC attack in the final minutes, as the home team pressed forward in search of an equalizer The bevy of chances that presented themselves in front of the net came to no avail, however, with notable misses by Jeb Brovsky, Andrew Jacobson, and Ned Grabavoy at the death.
A possible penalty for New York City was considered but not given in the sixty-seventh minute, but referee Edvin Jurisevic made the correct call after consulting with his linesman.
In the end, all three points went to Sporting, who next host Philadelphia on April 5, while New York City, who were far from imposing without star man Villa, will have to wait until April 11th, also against Philadelphia, to get back into the win column.