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NYCFC upholds tradition, loses season opener

NYCFC dropped the first game of 2024 to Charlotte FC: That makes it the fifth consecutive opening day loss in a row.

Maybe next year | Courtesy

New York City FC’s frustrating 1-0 road loss to Charlotte FC in the 2024 season opener shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. In fact, failing to find a way to win on opening day is something of an NYCFC tradition: This is the fifth consecutive opening season loss in a row.

The losses come in all shapes and sizes. Last year, there was the gutting 2-0 road loss to Nashville SC. In 2022, it was a flat 1-0 road loss to the LA Galaxy that took place in the middle of an epic run of travel for the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2021, there was the 2-1 road loss to DC United that saw NYCFC give away the lead after Taty Castellanos scored early. In 2020, it was a 1-0 road loss to Columbus Crew after Maxime Chanot was shown a 3′ red card. 

NYCFC managed a 2-2 road draw with Orlando City in 2019. The team that year didn’t manage a win until Matchday 7, then went on to finish the year with 64 points and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

In other words, you can’t take too much from the loss earlier tonight. Failing to get a result on opening day is kinda sorta New York City’s thing.

Besides, NYCFC put together some promising passages of play on the plastic grass at Bank of America Stadium. Mounsef Bakrar delivered some lovely crosses across the mouth of goal, and Santiago Rodríguez’s through-balls are bound to connect at some point. The attack looks promising even if they didn’t connect.

Then there was the goalkeeping heroics from Matt Freese, which kept New York City in the game until the final whistle.

There’s a lot to fix, as well: Soft passes that were easily intercepted by the opposition, defensive gaffes that left the keeper exposed, a lack of chemistry in build-up play, poor positioning in the final third, zero clinical finishing in front of goal. 

Nothing that a few training sessions can’t solve.