NYCFC faced off against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday in the hope of recording a fourth straight win in MLS. A tight affair produced few real chances for either side as the rain soaked Citi Field. In the end neither team could find a breakthrough and that forced them to share the points.
Head Coach Ronny Deila made two changes to the side that overcame San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 last time out, with Chris Gloster and Héber replacing the injured Malte Amundsen and Taty Castellanos.
Although the hosts started the brighter of the two sides Sean Johnson was called into action early on after Dániel Sallói latched onto a bouncing ball – his stinging effort well saved by Johnson. As the half wore on there were few clear-cut chances for either side with the heavy rain testing both sides in possession.
In the 34th minute, Parks found Santiago Rodríguez on the right and after driving toward goal he got off a shot that was well smothered by Tim Melia. Sporting’s best chance of the half arrived six minutes later when a low cross by Johnny Russel found Sallói at the near post. His stabbed effort was brilliantly turned onto the post by Johnson.
The second half saw the arrival of Maxi Moralez as he replaced Thiago Andrade. That move saw Rodríguez shifted wide to the right with Moralez tucking in behind Héber.
In the 53rd minute, a sweeping counterattack resulted in Rodríguez receiving the ball at the top of the box. After steadying himself he flashed an effort just wide of the right post. Talles Magno continued to pose a threat in the box and in the 66th minute he was inches away from connecting with a cross and heading the team in front.
NYCFC’s determination to find a breakthrough did not diminish and a minute later Deila turned to his bench for the second time as he introduced Alfredo Morales and Gabriel Pereira for Héber and Nicolás Acevedo. A dogged and determined Sporting side were refusing to give up space in their own half. That meant NYCFC’s next major chance came from distance as Parks fired just wide in the 77th minute.
The Boys in Blue maintained their intensity to the final minute with Maxi Moralez doing his best to inspire something. After chasing down a loose ball he was granted a chance from a narrow angle, but it was well smothered by the goalkeeper.
A final change for NYCFC came in the 85th minute as Maxime Chanot replaced Gloster. He almost made an instant impact after connecting with a Moralez corner, but it skimmed wide. A late strike from Pereira would prove to be the last notable action of the game and forced NYCFC to settle for a point against Sporting KC.