0 NYCFC debut at Yankee Stadium was not pitch perfect but gives much ground for optimism

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the first impression from New York City's inaugural MLS match at Yankee Stadium was mixed but far better than initially feared.

The spotlight of the soccer world in the United States was on the Bronx, especially on the pitch itself, both in size and quality.

Photos taken from helicopters in the build-up to the match suggested that disaster could be afoot - or under foot - but the groundsmen produced a pitch that, while not aesthetically ideal, produced some free-flowing football.

The main problems, rather, were outside, where many fans struggled to get inside Yankee Stadium in time for the national anthem and kick-off due to security and organisational delays. Some fans were even forced to watch the game on their smartphones while waiting to get in, much to their anger.

As a result the match was delayed to allow some fans to get to their seats, but once inside there was a real thrill to be finally seeing New York City playing for the first time at 'home' - and also to be in the hallowed Yankee Stadium.

US popstar Ashanti's version of the Star Spangled Banner lifted emotions for the start.

For New England Revolution fans, the match against New York City gave them an opportunity to mock their opponents, with cries of; "Where is Lampard?" in reference to the Manchester City midfielder who was due to arrive in New York but controversially did not.

Some New York fans were askng the same question themselves.

And so to the match where who else but David Villa gave New York City the lead with a neatly-taken strike in the 19th minute after a clever one-two with midfielder Ned Grabavoy.

New York had chance after chance and any chance New England had of getting something from the match ended when their captain Jose Goncalves was sent off for a professional foul on Khiry Shelton, who had just arrived on the pitch as a substitute.

And Patrick Mullins, another substitute, put the icing on the cake six minutes before time with a simple finish from four yards after a wonderful piece of skill from Villa to get the cross in.

The attendance was 43,507, which is largest for a New York club soccer team at Yankee Stadium, breaking mark from 1968, and added to Orlando City's inaugural crowd, gave the two MLS expansion sides a combined crowd of over 100,000 for their opening home matches.

Impressive, by anyone's standards. It was, however, less than the 49,653 that saw Manchester City play Liverpool at Yankee Stadium last summer.

For the full Telegraph article click here.

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