NYCFC Falls to Philadelphia Union
New York City Football Club slipped to a first home defeat of the season with a 3-1 reverse against Philadelphia Union. Gabriel Pereira had broken the deadlock at Citi Field, before a quickfire Julián Carranza double and Dániel Gazdag penalty earned the win for the visitors.
Returning from a bye weekend, the Boys in Blue stepped out onto New York turf for the first time in more than a month with sights set on a fresh start after a tough run on the road.
Cushing's side had tallied 8-2-0 from our previous ten home fixtures, with four wins from five in 2023. Meanwhile, The Union headed into the contest unbeaten in six, having conceded just one goal in their last four.
Head Coach Cushing made one change to the side that earned a dramatic point in Orlando last time out, as Andres Jasson was restored to the starting XI. Mitja Ilenič was also due to start the game but was replaced by Tayvon Gray after the warm-up.
As the 2021 and 2022 Eastern Conference Finalists locked horns once again, the opening 45 proved a typically pulsating affair - feisty and full of action.
City carved the game's first chance with a cleverly-worked corner, as Pereira met Santiago Rodríguez's low delivery and drew an early stop from Andre Blake.
Richy Ledezma and Jasson also went close for the Boys in Blue, while Gazdag and Kai Wagner looked to catch out Luis Barraza from range at the other end.
The City Boys opened the scoring on the half-hour mark through Pereira's fourth goal of the season. The Brazilian curled a delightful finish into the far corner, after Ledezma and Rodríguez had combined well - the former winning the ball back in a dangerous area to launch the attack.
Gray almost made it two with a low drive, before the Boys in Blue were fired a warning when Gazdag found the net, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
Pereira then came within inches of doubling the lead and his personal tally, cutting inside but crashing an effort off the crossbar - and Philadelphia capitalized with two goals on the brink of half-time to stun the hosts.
Carranza tied the game, collecting Jack Elliot's long ball on his chest and firing beyond Barraza, and the direct approach unlocked the City defense once again when Mikael Uhre teed up the forward for his second, courtesy of another lofted pass.
Ledezma went in search of a leveler before the half-time, forcing Blake into another smart save in the final action of the half, but the home side would head into the break behind.
Carranza continued to cause problems for New York, almost hitting his hat-trick a minute after the restart but striking the post - and the forward won a penalty for the away side on 52', going to ground under pressure from Thiago Martins with a VAR check confirming the call.
Gazdag converted the spot-kick to make it three, leaving the City Boys with a mountain to climb.
Barraza kept his side in the contest, denying Carranza and Gazdag, but though NYCFC pressed for a route back into the game - substitute Gabe Segal saw a penalty appeal waved away, while Pereira stung the palms of Blake, after skewing an effort wide - the Boys in Blue were unable to preserve our unbeaten home run.
How We Lined Up
New York City Football Club are in action again on Wednesday night, hosting FC Cincinnati at Yankee Stadium in the second in a three-game home stand.
The clash kicks off at 7:30pm ET on May 31, and tickets are available.
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