NYCFC improves to 3-0-0 for 1st time in franchise history

March 18, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Ismael Tajouri and Maximiliano Moralez scored 12-minutes apart in the second half and New York City FC opened the season with three straight wins for the first time in the club’s short history with a 2-0 victory over Orlando City on Saturday.

Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik misplayed a back-pass that went right to Tajouri inside the 18-yard box and Tajouri took a few touches to the penalty spot for an easy finish in the 62nd minute. After an Orlando giveaway to Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jesus Medina settled it for an oncoming Moralez to slide it home.

NYCFC (3-0-0) was without start David Villa due to a minor injury.

Sacha Kljestan made his debut for Orlando City (0-2-1) after serving a two-game ban.


BOYDS, Md. (AP) — Luciano Acosta scored in second-half stoppage time and D.C. United rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie Houston.

Darren Mattocks scored in his second straight game to pull United (0-1-2) within 2-1 in the 49th minute when he eluded his defender at the corner of the 6-yard box and sent a shot past goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Acosta, who was suspended for opening weekend and came off the bench for the final 28 minutes last Sunday, was left alone at the far post and one-touched Frederic Brillant’s header off Seitz and in.

D.C. United’s new Audi Field wasn’t ready for the home opener, so a sold-out crowd of 4,000 attended the alternate venue. Last week, D.C. United faced Atlanta United in front of an MLS regular-season record crowd of 72,035 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas scored for Houston (1-1-1).


CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Columbus played Philadelphia to a scoreless draw to extend the Crew’s unbeaten regular-season streak to 13 matches.

Most of the scoring opportunities for Columbus (2-0-1) came from Gyasi Zardes. He ran to Federico Higuain’s back-heel pass in the 27th minute but Zardes’ breakaway shot sailed wide. Zardes also had a good chance in the 51st minute on a header and came up empty on another one-on-one opportunity in the 64th.

Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Philadelphia’s Andre Blake each made three saves.

Czech playmaker Borek Dockal made his first start for the Union (1-0-1) and CJ Sapong, who set the single-season scoring record last season for Philadelphia, signed a new contract with the club earlier in the week.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ibson scored his first MLS goal in the second half, Sam Nicholson added another 11 minutes later and Minnesota United won its home opener.

Ibson gave Minnesota (2-1-0) a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute. His header was saved by Richard Sanchez, but Ibson was first to the rebound for a finish with the outside of his foot. After Chicago tied it four minutes later, Nicholson finished Ethan Finlay’s well-placed cross with an open header to freeze Sanchez.

Rookie Elliot Collier, making his first start, scored his first MLS goal for Chicago (0-2-0).


MONTREAL (AP) — Jeisson Vargas scored four minutes before the intermission to lift Montreal to a win in its home opener.

It was the first MLS goal for 20-year-old Vargas and the first win for new coach Remi Garde, who replaced Mauro Biello in December as coach of the Impact (1-2).

Toronto (0-2) played its first game since a rousing victory in the CONCACAF Champions League over Mexican side Tigres.


ATLANTA (AP) — Josef Martinez had his fourth career hat trick to help Atlanta beat Vancouver.

Vancouver (2-1-0) played a man down, and from behind, for most of the match after Kendall Watson was given a straight red card for elbowing in the 13th minute that led to an Atlanta penalty kick. Martinez, a 24-year old who was fourth in MLS with 19 goals last season, converted from the spot moments later.

Atlanta’s Julian Gressel tapped a cross from the right side that deflected off Vancouver’s Aaron Maund for an own goal and, about two minutes later, Martinez scored from the top of the box to make it 3-0. On the counterattack, Miguel Almiron fed Martinez on a breakaway for the easy one-on-one finish in the 60th minute for Atlanta (2-1-0).

Vancouver’s Erik Hurtado, in his first appearance this season, slipped behind the defense, ran onto a long arcing pass from Jordon Mutch and rolled the ball past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 85th.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Graham Zusi scored for the first time since the 2016 season to help Sporting Kansas City beat San Jose.

Zusi, a 31-year-old defender, hadn’t scored since a goal against San Jose on Oct. 23, 2016 in the regular-season finale.

Zusi took a pass from Roger Espinosa, evaded a defender on the right side and, from near the top of the box, ripped a rising left-footer past goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell to give Sporting a 2-1 lead in the 56th minute.

Johnny Russell drew a foul, conceded by Tarbell, in the area and Ilie Sanchez converted from the spot to give Kansas City (2-1-1) a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute.

Valeri Qazaishvili tied it in the 34th, and Felipe Gutierrez fired a left-footer from just outside the box into the net to make it 3-1 in the 68th before Chris Wondolowski capped the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time. Wondolowski moved past Jeff Cunningham into second on MLS’s career-scoring list with 135 goals.

San Jose (1-1-0) is winless in its last four against Sporting.


SANDY, Utah (AP) — Albert Rusnak scored on a penalty kick in the opening minutes and Nick Rimando had his MLS-leading 138th career shutout to help Real Salt Lake beat New York in the snow.

David Horst drew a foul, conceded by Carlos Rivas, just inside the penalty area and Rusnak converted from the spot to give Real Salt Lake (1-1-1) the lead in the fourth minute.

Rimando, a five-time MLS All-Star, finished with four saves, including a pair of spectacular diving stops.

The Red Bulls (1-1-0) are winless, including two losses, in their last three games against RSL.