Photo: NYCFC FB
Nashville, TN - New York City Football Club went down, down, down, in a burning ring of fire on Saturday in the commencement match of the 2023 MLS Regular Season. The pigeons suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Muhktar, Shaffleburg, and Co. The Boys in Blue never seemed to be in it and had a shocking lack of attacking chemistry or ideas. Conceding the first goal of the game at the 34 minute mark when Fafa Picault knocked down a header to Walker Zimmerman who powered a shot from the top of the six yard box passed Luis Barraza who got a hand on the shot, but could not do enough to keep the ball from crossing the line.
The 75th minute saw the introduction of reigning MLS MVP Hany Muhktar and it did not take long for him to impose his will on this match. 5 minutes after his boots touched the grass, Muhktar penetrated the NYCFC backline and laid off a ball for Jacob Shaffleburg who finished the shot far post side netting.
NYCFC dominated possession 61% to 38% but was not able to capitalize on their 2 attempts on goal. NYCFC was also able to out pass Nashville 499 to 293 with the passing percentages being 85.2% to 74.4%. These stats summarize how the afternoon went for NYCFC: Possession without Production. The Talles Magno "9" experiment is off to a freezing cold start after an underwhelming performance as the striker, and subsequent alteration to Left Wing in the second stanza. Newcomer Braian Cufre got the nod at Left Back after just arriving in the US last week. It was glaringly obvious through 45 minutes that he has not had a chance to develop chemistry with the players just yet.
Nick Cushing opted to only use two of his available five substitutions in this match, seemingly as a nod to his predecessor Ronny Deila who was also substitutionally challenged.
The Pigeons fly west to the Windy City, to play Wooden Spoon Contender Chicago Fire, on Saturday at 8:30pm EST. NYCFC is currently 0-1-0 with 0 points and sit at 14th in the eastern conference and 27th in the Shield Standings.