The Fire did not waste any time Sunday before finding their first home goal of the year, as midfielder and captain Jeff Larentowicz headed home rookie midfielder Harrison Shipp’s corner kick in the sixth minute. Dax McCarty would tie the game in the twenty-first minute, but neither team would find the back of the net again as the Fire and Red Bulls finished the match in a 1-1 draw.
While the Fire failed to earn its first win of the season, there were plenty of positives to draw from the match. Shipp, signed as a Homegrown Player out of the University of Notre Dame, was a force to be reckoned with and was consistently involved in the home team’s attack. Shipp would be substituted out of the match in favor of forward Juan Luis Anangono in the sixty-sixth minute. Victor Pineda made his long awaited debut on the Fire’s first team, and Benji Joya played until a seventy-first minute substitution. Mike Magee made his first appearance for the team in the regular season and played a full ninety minutes.
“I thought they did well. It’s never easy for these young guys to come in and play in such a big stage,” Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop said. “I think both Harry and Benji last week did a good job and played well today again. Victor’s first taste was today.”
Seven of the 11 Fire starters were not with the club as of the home opener in 2013. Shipp earned Man of the Match honors in his home debut.
After Magee earned a yellow card for encroachment in the thirteenth minute, the Fire would not be issued another card, while New York went on to receive five in the match.
The announced attendance of 16,228 for the home opener was almost 3,000 fans more than that of the 2013 home opener, an announced crowd of 13,242. With the draw, the Fire improved its record to 0-1-2, ahead of the Red Bulls on tiebreaker for the sixth seed, two points out of playoff position.
The Fire play its next match in the nation’s capital against D.C. United March 29 with a 3 p.m. CDT start time. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.
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