|NYCFC's Alex Ring celebrates his goal. @NYCFC.|
On Saturday, opening day of the MLS season, New York City Football Club tied Orlando City SC 2-2, while the Red Bulls earned a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew.
NYCFC 2, Orlando City 2:
NYCFC started the season off in style, as they scored on their first shot of the season.
It was Ebenezer Ofori who got it, as he lined up an unstoppable strike which made it just inside the post to make it 1-0.
New NYCFC Captain Alex Ring had a big chance in the 29th minute when he had a curling shot that forced Orlando City goalkeeper Brian Rowe into a solid save. Then, Maxime Chanot also narrowly missed with a header from a Alexandru Mitriță corner which landed at just the wrong side of the far post.
As the first half was about to close, in the 45th minute, Ring came into the Orlando City end on a one-on-one against Rowe, but it was Mitriță who made it, delivering a devastating through ball which took out multiple Orlando defenders, and gave Ring an opening to bury it and make it 2-0 NYCFC at halftime.
Orlando City got on the board in the 59th minute when Chris Mueller scored off a set-piece, as it went through everybody in the box, and NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson had no chance to stop the rocket.
NYCFC had a chance to get the goal back in the 70th minute when the Mitriță played Maxi Moralez through with another exceptional through ball, but this time Rowe was there to stand up and block Maxi’s shot.
Spon after, in the 75th, Orlando City tied it at 2 when substitute Luis Nani freed Dom Dwyer down the left and he squared it for Tesho Akindele, who was open, and he tapped it in.
A penalty appeal for an alleged Maxine Chanot handball followed quickly, but was denied on video review. At the other end, Mitriță was denied by Rowe in the last minute of extra time after he fired off a strong shot from the left side of the box.
Red Bulls 1, Orlando City 1:
The Red Bulls entered Saturday's MLS opener after dispatching Atletico Pantoja in the Concacaf Champions League on Wednesday.
Andreas Ivan, who had a goal in that match, picked up right where he left off as he headed in a Florian Valot cross in the 6th minute to make it 1-0 Red Bulls.
This was Ivan's first career MLS goal, and it was Valot's first MLS assist since his injury on July 7, 2018.
Columbus tied it in the 41st minute as Federico Higuain's corner kick was headed by Gaston Sauro and redirected by Red Bulls defender Michael Amir Murillo.
Sauro's goal in the 41st minute brought Red Bulls goalkeeper and captain Luis Robles' scoreless streak to 342 minutes across all competitions, dating back to last season.
Omir Fernandez, a Bronx, New York native and Red Bulls Academy Product, made his first career MLS start.
Sean Nealis, who came into the Champions League game off the bench on Wednesday, made his first career league-play appearance. The Red Bulls chose him in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft and he is Massapequa, New York native.
Newly acquired Red Bulls Amro Tarek and Marcus Epps both made their first MLS starts and appearances for New York.
Valot and Vincent Bezecourt, both of whom ended 2018 with injuries, returned to action as they both were in the Starting XI.
Red Bulls Head coach Chris Armas moved to 12-3-4 overall in MLS regular-season matches and 4-2-4 in league road games.
The Red Bulls will host and Santos Laguna in the SCCL Quarterfinals on Tuesday. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET from Red Bull Arena.
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