It was another long day trying to score for Heber and his NYCFC teammates. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Three games, three shutouts and three 1-0 defeats for New York City FC.
As it did during the regular season, New York City FC did not get off on the right foot in its first group match at the MLS Is Back Tournament on Thursday morning, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Philadelphia Union at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex.
In fact, NYCFC (0-3) hasn’t celebrated a goal in its last four games, if you add a 1-0 loss to Tigres in its Concacaf Champions League first-leg home encounter.
On Thursday, U.S. international midfielder Alejandro Bedoya connected for the lone goal of the match for Philly (1-1-1, 4 points) in the 63rd minute.
Much like the pregame ceremonies at of the Orlando City SC-Inter Miami CF match on Wednesday, the players of both teams, wearing Black Lives Matter shirts and masks, lined up around the center circle and kneeled silently in remembrance of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Many, if not all of the NYCFC coaching staff, including head man Ronny Deila, wore Black Lives Matter shirts during the match. Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin also won a similar jersey.
Just before kickoff, both sides again took a knee for a short period of time.
The game was rather unremarkable, especially since it was the first serious action for both squads since March. Temperatures at the complex was at 85 degrees, although it felt like 99 degrees due to 77 percent humidity.
First-half highlights included a pair of yellow cards to the Union’s Jose Martinez (34th minute) and Jamiro Monteiro (six minutes into added time) due to rough fouls on their NYCFC foes.
Bedoya scored off a deflected shot came to him in the box in the 63rd minute. NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson got his right hand on the shot, but couldn’t stop it from entering the lower left side of the net.
NYCFC’s best scoring opportunities came late.
In the 86th minute Jamaican international keeper Andre Blake stopped Heber from the middle of the area with a sprawling save.
Blake also denied Gary Mackay-Steven six minutes into stoppage.