NYCFC began their fourth season of play in Kansas City where they faced down a tough assignment against last season’s best defense in MLS.
Looking to better last year’s second-place finish overall, City made a confident, fluent start, immediately dominating the ball and forcing Kansas back inside their own defensive third.
On 20′, Alex Ring tested Tim Melia with a fierce dipping strike from distance but the first goal of 2018 would arrive 11 minutes later courtesy of the excellent Moralez.
Villa’s dip of the shoulder, charge down the left side and perfectly-weighted center created it for Maxi who slid in to convert what was his sixth goal for the Club.
It was no less than the Boys in Blue deserved after a commanding start to the game but it could and maybe should have been even better as Villa and Ben Sweat broke clear in the final seconds of the half, with 40 yards of space, no defenders and only the goalkeeper to beat.
With Sweat ahead of the Spanish striker, the pass wasn’t on and Christian Lobato was able to make a heroic sprint back to intercept and keep Kansas within a goal going in at the break.
However, NYCFC wouldn’t have to wait long to double their advantage and it was the new DP who lit up his debut.
Medina was at the end of the chain to deliver an impudent lift over Melia for 0-2 but the move that went before it was just as good as the finish as City broke at pace, overloading the left side, allowing Sweat to pick out the Paraguayan international with an inch-perfect cross.
As City looked to be coasting towards victory, there were two moments of VAR-related drama in a frenetic final ten minutes as referee Mark Geiger pointed to the spot following a challenge from Chanot but the cheers inside the stadium soon turned to heckles as the replays showed the Luxembourg international won the ball, meaning the decision was reversed.
Chanot was spared on that occasion but with 5′ to play he was shown a straight red card on review for denial of a goalscoring opportunity for Fernandes.
As a result, NYCFC knew they would have to defend diligently to see out the game with ten men but they did so with distinction to earn all three points.