BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (March 6, 2016) – The Chicago Fire twice scored to pull within a goal of New York City FC, but ultimately fell 4-3 in Sunday’s season-opening match at Toyota Park.
Nine different players made their Fire debuts during the match, the most in a single game since the club’s expansion season in 1998. Chicago trailed 3-1 at the break, but pulled one closer four minutes into the second half thanks to Kennedy Igboananike. Chicago conceded in 63rd and again pulled to within one goal of their guests thanks to a David Accam penalty kick in the 72nd, but the match would end without an equalizer.
New York City’s Thomas McNamara scored the first of seven goals during the match with a 10th-minute rocker from outside the box. The midfielder launched from three yards off the top of the box and clanged it off the post and in for the league’s first goal of the season.
The lead didn’t last long as Cocis slotted home an equalizer nine minutes later. Arturo Alvarez lofted a pass over New York City FC’s back line, finding Cocis open on the run from midfield. Cocis settled and picked the right side of the net, beating goalkeeper Josh Saunders for the Fire’s first goal of 2016.
New York City FC scored twice more before halftime. Tony Taylor took advantage of fortunate circumstances for the first, polishing off a deflected clearance in the 29th minute. Joao Meira attempted to clear a bouncing ball near the top of the box with a bicycle kick, but caught teammate Michael Harrington in the face. The ball glanced off Meira and sat for Taylor, who spun and finished in the far corner to make it 2-1.
Khiry Shelton used a burst of speed and nimble footwork inside the box to increase City’s lead six minutes later. The pacey winger worked his way down the sideline, chasing a pass from Mix Diskerud and beating a mark to gain position while striding into the area. Shelton shielded Fire defender Brandon Vincent and then rounded goalkeeper Matt Lampson before tapping into the net from the doorstep.
The Fire would battle back at the outset of the second half. Accam pressed and won the ball off a New York City FC defender then crossed to Igboananike. The Nigerian Designated Player capitalized with a one-touch shot into the net to cut the deficit to 3-2.
NYCFC progressed its lead again in the 63rd with a volleyed goal from Diskerud. McNamara served the cross and Diskerud found a hole on the right to place his shot.
The Fire continued to fight with a 72nd-minute penalty kick from Accam. City was whistled for a handball on a Chicago corner kick and Accam sent his spot kick into the right side of the goal, producing the final scoreline of 4-3.
The Men in Red return to action on Friday, March 11 against Orlando City SC. Kickoff is 6 p.m. CT on UniMas.
MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (0-1-0, 0 pts.) 3:4 New York City FC (1-0-0, 3 pts.)
March 6, 2016 – Toyota Park
NYC – Thomas McNamara (Khiry Shelton) 10
CHI – Razvan Cocis (Arturo Alvarez) 19
NYC – Tony Taylor (unassisted) 29
NYC – Khiry Shelton (Mix Diskerud) 36
CHI – Kennedy Igboananike (David Accam) 49
NYC – Mix Diskerud (Thomas McNamara) 63
CHI – David Accam (penalty kick) 72
NYC – Frederic Brillant (caution) 14
CHI – Joao Meira (caution) 32
NYC – Tony Taylor (caution) 59
CHI – Michael Harrington (caution) 62
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson, Michael Harrington (Rodrigo Ramos 66), Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent, Matt Polster, Razvan Cocis © (Joey Calistri 81), Kennedy Igboananike, Arturo Alvarez, David Accam, Gilberto (Jonathan Campbell 46).
Shots: 17; Shots On-Goal: 9; Saves: 6; Fouls: 12; Corners: 12
New York City FC: Josh Saunders, Ethan White, Frederic Brillant, Jason Hernandez, Ronald Matarrita, Andrea Pirlo, Mix Diskerud, Thomas McNamara, David Villa, Khiry Shelton (Federic Bravo 89), Tony Taylor (Mikey Lopez 69).
Shots: 20; Shots On-Goal: 10; Saves: 6; Fouls: 9; Corners: 1