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Five Points: the Beginning

February 25, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
New York City FC News Release

New York City FC suffered defeat against Charlotte FC on Saturday.

A single goal handed Charlotte a 1-0 win.

Here are Five Points from the game...

The Beginning

NYCFC welcomed a host of new faces in the offseason as Nick Cushing and his staff sought to adapt and evolve not only the roster but also the team's style heading into 2024.

We saw some of those tactical tweaks during preseason and it continued again on Saturday. Cushing was quick to acknowledge that his team must improve their chance creation efforts against teams in a low block if they are to make a step forward, and this group undoubtedly has the talent to do that.

That said, with one game down and so many still to play, it is important to remember that this is the beginning, not the end, of the journey that is the 2024 season.

Big Save

Every game offers goalkeepers the chance to be a team's hero, particularly when facing a penalty.

On Saturday, NYCFC needed Matt Freese to step up with the game delicately poised in the second half. Freese did his bit with a clean save to deny Kerwin Vargas from 12 yards and keep the score tight - giving City hope of getting back into the game.

Unfortunately, it did not instigate a comeback, but it makes his save no less impressive. Having that reliability between the posts is a great foundation to build upon as this team looks to achieve big things in 2024.

Opening Day

The stands were packed, the people were bouncing, Charlotte, North Carolina was ready for a game of soccer.

The atmosphere inside Bank of America Stadium on Saturday showed the mood of the home team, and it was no surprise they came out of the gates quickly. The players were disappointed to concede early into the game, but, as Matt Freese noted afterward the team eventually gained control of the contest.

The shot-stopper also touched on the need for the team to suffer together to build that bond and ultimately record better results on the road. Saturday may not have given the team the result it wanted, but the experience will no doubt be helpful in time.


Nick Cushing handed first competitive appearances to two of his new signings.

After impressing during preseason Hannes Wolf was included in the starting XI against Charlotte FC. The Austrian played in the number 10 role before moving out wide, and produced flashes of quality with quick and intelligent passing highlighting his quality. He was joined on the field by Jovan Mijatović in the second period, with the teenager gaining some important minutes as he seeks to acclimatize to the team.

While the result was not what either wanted, it was nice to see both make their NYCFC bow, with further new recruits waiting in the wings to make an impact at NYCFC.

Fine Margins

It was a tough night overall for NYCFC, and it was a game of fine margins on Saturday.

Charlotte found themselves on the right side of that line when the initial header cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the path of one of their players. At the other end, Santiago Rodríguez was unlucky to see his effort skip over the crossbar and deny NYCFC an equalizer.

Those moments mattered, and if the pendulum had swung in the other direction we are discussing a huge result for NYCFC. Here's hoping next time fortune favors the brave.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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