Valentin Castellanos gave NYCFC a 15th minute lead before the hosts scored twice in a five minute span late in the first half through Brendan Hynes-Ike and Russell Canouse.
Story of the match
DC United was very physical early on with Fredric Brillant seeing yellow after a hard challenge on Maxi Moralez. In the 14th minute, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi nearly gave NYCFC the lead in the 14th minute after his free kick clattered off of the crossbar.
A minute later, the visitors were ahead after a fine counterattack with Jesus Medina flicking onto Moralez, who found Anton Tinnerholm and he squared one to the back post for Castellanos, who bundled it home.
Canouse had the hosts' first real chance in the 25th minute as his sizzler went past the post. Erik Sorga then stung the fingertips of NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson with a shot. Now with the momentum, DC United were level in the 39th minute as Hines-Ike's drive beat Johnson.
Five minutes later, the hosts were in front fron a well-worked corner as Julian Gressel sent a ball from the edge of the box to Carnouse, his side-footed effort ending up in the bottom corner.
NYCFC had much the better play in the second half with Tinnerholm making several blazing runs. They had a good chance in the 69th minute after a neat exchange of play between Keaton Parks, Moralez and Medina with the Paraguyan going just over.
Castellanos picked up a yellow card in the 74th minute after a clash with Junior Moreno. Frustration mounted as Gressel was booked in the 77th minute and Tinnerholm followed suit five minutes later as NYCFC are now winless in three straight season openers.
Man of the Match: Russell Canouse
The goal that he scored off of Gressel's corner was made to look far easier than it was and he was the heart of the new fast-paced look of the club.
DC United style changes under Losada
For the last decade, Ben Olsen had played a conservative style, but with Losada at the helm, DC United are a much more free-flowing club despite completing just 58 percent of their passes.