NYCFC began the 2022 MLS Regular Season with a trip to California to face LA Galaxy. The first half failed to produce a goal for either side. The second half was a largely similar story, but in the 90th minute, there was heartbreak for the Boys in Blue as Javier Hernandez converted from close range to hand LA Galaxy a narrow win.
New York City Football Club were hoping to start the season with three points as they took on LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
Head Coach Ronny Deila maintained the same starting XI that overcame Santos de Guápiles in Concacaf Champions League midweek and it almost paid instant dividends.
The game was barely three minutes old when Maxi Moralez drifted wide and floated in a dangerous cross that Talles Magno headed towards goal – his effort well held by Jonathan Bond.
As both teams traded early opportunities it was Sean Johnson that produced a solid save from Douglas Costa, while Taty Castellanos was denied his first goal of the season by an offside flag.
In the 34th minute, a Galaxy breakaway finished with Kevin Cabral getting a shot away, but Johnson was on hand to parry his effort behind for a corner. As the half wore on there were few clear-cut chances for either side as both tried to establish control of the ball in midfield.
On the stroke of half-time Castellanos almost broke the deadlock after a smart clipped pass by Moralez found him in behind, but his glanced header went narrowly wide.
The second period began at a frenetic pace with both teams fashioning quick breakaways. Neither were able to capitalize on that early momentum and the game remained scoreless. During the 63rd minute, Deila turned to his bench for the first time. Departing the field was Nicolás Acevedo and Talles Magno to be replaced by Keaton Parks and Thiago Andrade.
A freekick for the Galaxy in the 68th minute allowed Javier Hernandez to get a half-volley attempt away. It forced Johnson to tip the ball over his crossbar for a corner. Andres Jasson would be the next new entrant to the field for NYCFC and replaced Santiago Rodríguez in the 75th minute – the Uruguyan ending an industrious shift down the right hand side.
The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw when in the 90th minute Javier Hernandez wriggled free in the box to give Galaxy the advantage heading into injury time.
In response, Deila introduced Héber for Tayvon Gray. The Brazilian would be handed an opportunity to equalize deep into injury time after Keaton Parks fed him in but he dragged his shot just wide. That would prove to be the final act of the game and leave NYCFC suffering a 1-0 defeat on the opening day of the season.
Next up for New York City Football Club is a game against Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, March 5, 2022 at BC Place. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00PM EST (TV schedule).