By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith
New York City FC started its season at Sporting Kansas City on a sentimental note with captain David Villa’s donning of a “Siemprequini” jersey on the walk out to the pitch- an homage to his recently deceased soccer hero and legend Enrique Castro aka “Quini”.
My take on the game in 200 words
NYCFC dominated SKC for much of the game by retaining possession with movement down the wings and pressing early and hard. We had some good luck when SKC’s early big chance at a goal was headed wide by Roger Espinoza and when three consecutive corner kicks by SKC ended up fruitless.
It looked at that point that the game might even out until Villa fed a ball from the left across the goal where Maxi Moralez finished it. The first half ended with a breakaway by Villa which was ultimately destroyed by SKC’s sprinting defender.
The second half was much of the same as NYCFC dominated possession, capped off by a gorgeous sequence of a backward flick by Yangel Herrera to Ben Sweat on the left who quickly crossed it to the finisher, Jesus Medina. Up 2-0 NYCFC kept the lead by defending well in all parts of the field, quickly doubling up pressure on SKC players.
Restarts out of the back need to be smoothed out a bit. NY continued to pass back to Sean Johnson amongst heavy pressure from SKC. In general, however, the team looked solid.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) March 5, 2018
The little details
I will make a giant leap and say definitively that NYCFC blocked more shots in this game than all previous seasons combined. No, I don’t have the stats to back it up, I just know.
NYCFC debuts in this match: Medina, Anton Tinnerholm, Sebastien Ibeagha and Ismael Tajouri.
Despite offensively dominating the match, there were some great saves by Johnson.
Awards! In honor of the Oscars which I did not watch this year…
The oddest throwback to high school soccer moment of the match: The drop ball after the first VAR review.
Worrisome injury of the match: Maxime Chanot and Sean Johnson both on the ground clutching their heads after the collision with SKC’s Ike Opara. And also worrisome is the seeming lack of adherence to concussion protocol. I mean were they even examined before being able to return to play?
Surprise of the match: 1st- How many times VAR was consulted and how long the process takes. Hopefully, that will get faster as the season goes on. 2nd- Chanot’s first tackle in the box not being a penalty kick but the second one just outside earning him a red card.
Unsung hero of the match: Moralez. He was everywhere on the field. Pressing, passing, making runs.
Award for most absurd yellow card: (tie) Medina and Johnson both for “delaying restart”.
Mother of God! moment of the match: The back passes to Johnson to restart out of the back that came in a bit hot in the first half.
Thoughts for the home opener versus LA Galaxy. Who will be in our starting defensive line now that Chanot is out?
And why does the word “Brujo” seem to have only positive connotations but “Bruja” mostly negative? Asking for a friend.
Featured image courtesy: NYCFC Facebook
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