ALAJUELA, COSTA RICA – New York City FC opened their 2020 Concacaf Champions League season on Thursday night at A.D. San Carlos. It was fittingly chaotic and sloppy for an opening CCL match for an MLS team. A Heber hattrick was the difference for the Cityzens.
NYCFC Survive CCL First leg Behind Heber Hattrick
The first game was helter skelter as the sides exchanged quick counter attacks with plenty of emergency defending. Keaton Parks missed two sitters in the box in the opening minute.
Heber opened the scoring in the 13th minute right in front of goal off a great run and service from Ronald Matarrita, who recorded the assist. After some end-to-end play that saw both teams miss quality chances, Anton Tinnerholm found Heber with a cross to make it 2-0.
Just before halftime, San Carlos got on the scoresheet when Jorman Aguilar ran onto a longball and shot across goal and just inside the post to beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Minutes into the second half, Jose David Sanchez was called for a handball in the box and Heber converted the PK to make it 3-1 and get his hattrick.
Alexander Callens and Marcos Mena scored later to make it 4-2. Omar Browne scored from well outside the box on a bouncing shot to make it a one goal game in the 79th minute.
City’s defense held on after that. A PK was called in stoppage time. Substitute Maxi Moralez was denied on the shot but Alexandru Mitrita converted the rebound. The match ended 5-3 to the visitors.
— Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) February 21, 2020
NYCFC looked themselves to an extent: This week has been unkind to several MLS teams in Champions League. New York City, unlike LAFC and Montreal Impact, didn’t look like a team in preseason form for long stretches. The attack had coherence and created lots of chances. There were some fitness and defensive communication issues, as expected.
Chaos: God bless this tournament. This game was chaos from start to finish. Mistakes at the back, fantastic goals, and missed chances were abundant. It might have been low quality soccer at times, but it was entertaining.
Heber hattrick: There was a lot of poor play in this game, but Heber showed up for NYCFC. A finish on a cross from either side of the field and a PK gave City the lead needed to get a result going home for the second leg.