The stadium was new. The jerseys were new. But in Sunday afternoon’s season opener, it was the same old story: New York City FC is still winless on the road in Orlando.
Patrick Vieira’s team had their chances, and looked the better side for most of the game. But don’t tell that to Cyle Larin; the third-year Orlando City forward netted for the seventh time in seven games against NYCFC. It turned out to be the only tally of the game, and the home team snatched all three points at the sold-out grand opening of Orlando City Stadium.
New faces highlighted the starting XI for New York City. Here’s how they trotted out:
GK Sean Johnson
LB Ronald Matarrita, CB Alexander Callens, CB Maxime Chanot, RB RJ Allen
CM Alex Ring, CM Andrea Pirlo, CAM Maxi Moralez
LW Rodney Wallace, CF David Villa, RW Jack Harrison
The visitors, known all too well in their first two seasons for shaky defending, bent but largely didn’t break. While new netminder Sean Johnson didn’t look the least bit comfortable building up play from the back, Vieira’s defensive group appeared to do just enough. The attacking group couldn’t oblige.
After OCSC star man Kaka limped off with an injury in the 11th minute, you got the sense that it could very well be open season. Unfortunately for New York City, it was Kaka’s substitute, Giles Barnes, who provided the assist on Larin’s headed goal just four minutes after trotting on.
And on the other end, Lions goalkeeper Joe Bendik was otherworldly.
New NYC midfielder Alex Ring was through on goal only to have a one-on-one chance spoiled by Bendik. David Villa and Sean Okoli both had chances on goal that came to nothing. In the late going, Khiry Shelton took a wasteful touch at the edge of the six yard box, spoiling what was a brilliant lob into the danger zone.
The visitors could have just as easily had three. Instead, the final whistle blew with Orlando City taking a 1-0 result. Dating back to the end of last year, that makes three straight games without a goal for New York City.
“They started really well and we conceded a goal at the wrong time. After, we deserved to get something from the game. We played some really good football,” gaffer Patrick Vieira told NYCFC.com after the game.
“We need to improve our finishing– to be more ruthless when we have the chance. To play away and create as many chances as we did was really positive. We just need to finish them.”
NEXT UP FOR NYCFC: The long-awaited home opener at Yankee Stadium! DC United comes to visit at 2:00pm ET next Sunday, March 12th. The match will be televised on YES.