Charlotte FC Goals: Rios 5'
New York City Goals:
New York City fell to defeat away to Charlotte FC on Saturday. Daniel Rios' early strike separated the sides at Bank of America Stadium in an eventful contest, which saw Christian Fuchs sent off for an elbow on Tayvon Gray before the hour. Despite mounting late pressure against the ten men, the visitors could not find a leveler in North Carolina.
In the midst of a heavy fixture schedule with several key names unavailable through injury or suspension, Cushing made five changes to the side that drew with FC Cincinnati in midweek.
Thiago, Andres Jasson, Gedion Zelalem, Vuk Latinovich and Justin Haak were introduced in place of Maxi Moralez, Santiago Rodríguez, and the suspended trio of Thiago Martins, Maxime Chanot and Nico Acevedo. Keaton Parks made a welcome return to acton for the final 20 minutes from the bench.
The two sides had only met once previously – Charlotte triumphing 3-1 at Red Bull Arena in August.
As was the case in that game, the Crown found the net inside the first five minutes. Dominating the early exchanges, Adilson Malanda had already rattled the crossbar with a header before Rios broke the deadlock in the next attack, nodding Karol Swiderski’s cross into the bottom corner.
New York regrouped and sought a quickfire response. Talles Magno saw an effort blocked by Malanda, while Gabriel Pereira curled over the bar and Alex Callens headed wide.
Charlotte spurned the chance to double their lead on the quarter-hour, as Brandt Bronico latched onto Swiderski’s floated long ball but clipped just wide, and in the last major action of the half, Kerwin Vargas then blazed wide of the nearpost.
The home side again started the half the brighter of the two sides and almost make it two five minutes after the break, as Kamil Jozwiak crashed a low half-volley off the post.
There was drama on 55 minutes when Fuchs was shown a red card for an elbow on Gray, following a VAR check, handing the away side an advantage.
In response, Cushing looked to capitalize with more firepower, initiating a triple substitution with the attacking trio of Moralez, Héber and Rodríguez, before Parks made his long-awaited return and Matías Pellegrini was introduced.
The visitors struggled to carve clear-cut chances until the final 15 minutes, as the team stepped up in search of a late equalizer.
Another Pereira effort deflected over but Callens' header straight at Kristijan Kahlina proved the closest City came to salvaging a point with Pellegrini firing over in stoppage time.