THE BRONX, N.Y. – Four days earlier, their offense took off in a second half effort that gave them a second victory of the season. Unfortunately for Veljko Paunovic, that didn’t carry over to the team’s first mid-week game of the season at all.
After scoring four goals against Colorado in a victory at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday, the Fire couldn’t get an official shot on goal over 90 minutes of play at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. Because of that, an early goal by New York City FC held up for the hosts, who beat the Fire 1-0 to snap their four-game unbeaten streak.
Valentín Castellanos’ goal in the ninth minute was the only score of the game for either side, and it drops the Fire’s record to 2-3-3 on the season.
Yet Paunovic and the Fire thought that CJ Sapong had tied the game early in the second half with a score, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call. The head coach argued with the referee on the play and was kicked out of the game.
“All that I’m saying to the referee is that their player has touched the ball when he called offside and that’s all. I don’t think that anywhere in the world that is something that somebody should be sent off for,” said Paunovic of his ejection. “I don’t think that there is any disrespect. I did not use any disrespectful language. Visually, I’m showing the situation to the referee and I’m just telling him that he actually gave the play-on in that moment, but he called it.”
Fire goalie David Ousted kept the Fire in it the rest of the way and provided the team’s highlight of the match in the 91st minute. He dove to his right to stop a penalty kick by Maxi Moralez to keep his team in the game.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t find a way to get through the New York City FC defense to keep their undefeated streak going.
“I’m disappointed. I thought we could have gotten more out of it,” said Ousted. “We came here with an idea of getting points away from here but the way it shaped up tonight, it wasn’t to be. I think we put in a lot of work but we fell shy.”