In a game that saw very little defending, NYCFC were up 3-1 at half time despite a horror show of a defensive performance. Chicago pulled one back minutes into the second half, but a sweet volley from Mix Diskerud restored the two goal cushion in the 63rd minute.
David Accam converted a penalty for the Fire 18 minutes from time, but the visitors held on to claim the three points in one of the most thrilling opening day games in recent memory.
Sparks from the start
The game started lively as the Chicago Fire came close to an early goal in the first minute when Gilberto shimmied his way into the penalty box, but his strike was well saved by Josh Saunders.
NYCFC had an opportunity to open the scoring moments later when the captain, David Villa, was picked out by Mix Diskerud inside the penalty box, but the former Spanish international couldn’t find the net as his shot flew straight into the hands of Matt Lampson.
First goal of the season
It didn’t take long for the wide-open game to produce the first goal of the 2016 MLS season as NYCFC took the lead just nine minutes into the game through Tommy McNamara.
The Canadian was picked out completely unmarked inside the Fire half, and the midfielder beautifully curled the ball into the upper 90 from 30 yards out, to give Patrick Vieira’ team the lead early on.
Despite City’s early lead, the visitors’ high line proved costly as Razvan Cocis equalized for Chicago in the 19th minute.
The midfielder managed to beat the offside trap, and there was no way Cocis was going to miss one-on-one with Saunders, and the midfielder made it 1-1, 19 minutes in.
City’s kamikaze defending problems from last season looked to have transferred into the 2016 season, as the visitors back line looked to go missing at times and leave massive holes for Chicago to exploit.
Despite the problems at the back, NYCFC’s attacking threat caused Chicago problems, and Tony Taylor was able to capitalize on these mistakes as the forward gave City the lead yet again.
Taylor was played in by a good over the top pass from Diskerud, and a mistake at the back from two Chicago defenders allowed Taylor to swivel his body around, and volley the ball past Lampson from close range to give the visitors the lead yet again in the first half.
New York march on
NYCFC’s half got better as American youngster Khiry Shelton made it 3-1 with ten minutes remaining until half-time.
The forward burst down the right wing, shrugging off the Chicago defenders, before cutting inside to box, leaping over Lampson, and stroking the ball in to net to complete an incredible solo goal.
Chicago fight back
The two-goal advantage is usually a time for teams to focus on defending and play steady, possession football, unless you’re NYCFC, who looked like they wanted to give away their lead.
Saunders was called into action when Fredrick Brilliant gave away possession to Gilberto from inside the NYCFC penalty box. Saunders, thankfully, was there to sweep up the danger.
The hosts’ heavy pressure continued as David Accam almost put Chicago back into the game when City lost the ball deep in their own half again, but Saunders again denied the Fire forward with another great save, to keep the score at 3-1 going into the break.
A shaky second half
NYCFC’s defensive woes continued in the second half has Kennedy Igboananike pulled a goal back for the hosts just two minutes into the second half.
A short goal kick from Saunders to Brilliant resulted in the defender losing possession to Accam, the winger then teed the ball off to Igboananike inside the penalty box, and the midfielder poked the ball in from close range to make the deficit 3-2
No love lost for Chicago
Chicago looked like they would score the next goal but it was the visitors who found the back of the net for the fourth time this as Mix Diskerud restored NYCFC’s two goal lead in the 63rd minute.
McNamara dribbled down the left wing before whipping a cross to an on running Mix, and the USA international volleyed the delivery past Lampson with a well hit shot.
Chicago fight back volume II
Chicago substitute Rodrigo Ramos almost scored with his first touch of the game when a lost shot fell into the path of the Brazilian. Ramos guided the ball towards goal, but the touch steered it just wide of the far post.
The hosts were then given a penalty in the 72nd minute when Shelton handled the ball inside the area after a Chicago corner. Accam stepped up to the spot and sent Saunders the wrong way with a classy penalty to put the Fire back into the game with 18 minutes to go.
Despite the late goal, NYCFC held on until the final whistle to win the game 4-3, and to claim the three points on the opening day of the season.