A little over a week after officially taking the reins at the club, new manager Ronny Deila made his preseason debut as NYCFC dropped their opening match of the year 2-1 to Brazilian top-flight side Corinthians.
New Corinthians acquisition Luan scored twice in the first half and a young NYCFC side reduced the deficit on a second-half own goal in a Florida Cup match played at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, where NYCFC arrived on Sunday for their first stage of preseason preparations.
With their first competitive match in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 coming in 36 days, Deila fielded a young side in a 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1 that mainly featured academy players, trialists and SuperDraft picks. Gedion Zelalem made his NYCFC debut, starting high up the field alongside the son of MLS legend Dwayne De Rosario, Osaze De Rosario, who kept the Corinthians back line busy for most of the night.
Among the highlights for the MLS side: James Sands was a ball magnet at center back and right back Joe Scally was aggressive in the attack. In the second half, academy player Niko Kapanadze was especially lively and his hard run led to the own goal that cut the score to 2-1 in the 75th minute.
But it was 28-year-old goalkeeper trialist Cody Mizell who was the standout NYCFC performer in the second half with strong, decisive play in goal. Just three minutes after coming into the match, he made a courageous dive to tip the ball off the foot of a Corinthians forward and he followed that up with a handful of sure-handed stops, including a double save in the 89th minute.
NYCFC are back in action in the Florida Cup against another Brazilian power, Palmeiras, on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 pm ET.
- COR - Luan - 11'
- COR - Luan - 30'
- NYC - own goal - 75'
NYCFC starting lineup (4-4-1-1, left to right): Luis Barraza – Tony Rocha, James Sands, Sebastien Ibeagha, Joe Scally – Andres Jasson, Juan Pablo Torres, Justin Haak, Tijani Fatah – Gedion Zelalem – Osaze De Rosario
NYCFC - 33rd minute (4-4-2, left to right): Luis Barraza (46' Cody Mizell) – Felicien Dumas, Prince Amponsah, Tayvon Gray, DJ Taylor – Jesus Perez, Joe Suchecki, Colman Kim, Nicholas Kapanadze – Andre Fortune, Osaze De Rosario (58' Julio Lansade)