Javier “Ciccarito” Hernandez scored from the edge of the penalty area in the 90th minute to beat New York City FC LA Galaxy 1-0 in the opening game of the league in Carson, California on Sunday.
In their first regular season match after winning the MLS Cup title in a shootout with the Portland Timbers last year, the NYCFC lost for the first time since Oct. last year, ending a nine-game unbeaten series.
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“I’m very happy and excited to be helping my target team,” Hernandez said. “Our team has put in a lot of effort. We had a clean sheet of paper and we worked hard. ⁇
The Galaxy had some quality chances against NYCFC, but could not put one on the net until the end of the game. Raheem Edwards reclaimed his possession just outside the box and sent Hernandez an entry pass, he got a short run on the left, deflected off defender Maxim Sanot and sent a right-footed shot seven yards out from goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
This is the second year in a row that the Mexico striker has scored in the Galaxy opening game. He netted twice in last year’s 3-2 win over Inter Miami.
“I thought I had a chance on the left. I thought the defender was going to dive in and stop. I had an opening,” Hernandez said. “We played against the best team in the MLS last season and won at the last minute. Feelings and emotions are positive. ⁇
Valentin Castellanos, who scored the most goals in the MLS with 19 goals last season, has not had any quality scoring opportunities. He scored two shots, but neither scored. NYCFC had a chance to equalize in the 93rd minute, but Heber was wide to the right on a shot near the goal.
“It was hard to move the ball the way we wanted it to,” said coach Ronnie Dela. “Overall the performance was good, but to be more precise on the ball to open things up more. In the end, we were disappointed.”
Johnson made five savings for the NYCFC and Jonathan Bond made one for the Galaxy. LA had a 15-9 advantage over the total shots. Hernandez was third in the MLS with 17 goals last season, but his main goal this season is to get the Galaxy back to the playoffs for the first time since 2019. Regular season.
“It was a tough game. Both teams were a stumbling block in the absence of opportunities,” said Galaxy coach Greg Vanni. ⁇
Both teams are on the road Saturday. The NYCFC trip to Vancouver and the Galaxy will be Charlotte FC’s first home rival.
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