In a matchup of teams with identical records, this was an opportunity for one of these teams to get their third win of the season and move up the standings. After a first half of several opportunities and two rather close set pieces that could have very well been penalty kicks, NYC FC was able to get a 2-0 win on the road at RFK. The visitors used a spurt at the start of the second half to do their damage, one coming at the feet of David Villa and the other off the head of Khiry Shelton. Missed opportunities and poor clearances doomed the Black-and-Red on Mothers Day.
The Black-and-Red got off to a good start against visiting NYC FC, using there midfield pressure to do so. That pressure allowed D.C. United to force errant passes and speed up NYC FC early on. That’s not to say that the visitors didn’t get a few looks in the first stanza, but the home side had more than enough chances.
Luciano Acosta seems to have gotten more comfortable since his arrival, getting extended minutes with Espindola and Rolfe’s absences has resulted in confidence. He used his ability on the ball to hold up play at times to create runs for teammates, finding them with rather clever balls. Alvaro Saborio was the beneficiary of these passes, he just wasn’t able to finish. The most glaring opportunity, being off a combination between Acosta and Neagle. Lucho found the cutting Neagle who played the ball back to Sabo. The keeper had come down his line a bit to face Neagle on near post, the pass back to Sabo left him in front of the goal with the keeper off center, but his touch was off and the ball sailed on him.
Nick DeLeon got in on the action as well, playing a few dangerous balls into the box as well. Unfortunately for the Black-and-Red, there weren’t teammates on the end of those passes to produce goals. Patrick Nyarko came off just 26 minutes into the game, it wasn’t clear if he suffered an injury although he did have a rather rough collision a few minutes prior to coming off.
Late in the half, 38 minutes in to be exact, Neagle would find Saborio yet again. This time Neagle played a thru ball that beat the centre backs and left Sabo in a 1v1 situation with keeper Josh Saunders. The NYC FC keeper was decisive and made an aggressive slide to take the ball before Sabo could deliver his final touch. Of all those quality buildups and chances, D.C. United produced just two shots.
The second half started nothing like the first, ti was the visitors with the pressure and they cashed in early. David Villa scored off a rebound off a dangerous cross, the minutes later Khiry Shelton followed with an impressive display of athleticism and his header beat the surprised Worra. It looked like Shelton may have pushed both D.C. United defenders, using them as leverage to propel himself up to get his head on the ball.
In the 59th minute, Lucho was brought down in the box or so it appeared. The referee did issue a foul to New York, but placed the spot of the ball literally inches outside of the box for a free kick. The wall was placed just a foot off of the goalie box. Marcelo Sarvas stepped up and hit the post, the rebound couldn’t be corralled. Another big missed opportunity for the Black-and-Red.
One of the bright spots is that Luciano Acosta seems to be getting his feel for the league, creating all sorts of problems for NYC FC. His teammates need to get used to running things out, being his ideas or balls he’s playing for them. Must do so with the mindset to shoot, goals will come.
In the 73rd minute, similar to the Acosta situation earlier. Sabo is taken down int he box and the ref puts the ball outside of the box instead of ruling it a penalty kick. This opportunity is wasted by the home side, the rest of the half consists mostly of bad passes and fouls from both sides.
The visitors would get their third win of the season why D.C. United would suffer it’s fourth loss on a short week as they have to get over the defeat to NYC FC and prepare for the Red Bulls on Friday.