Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - New York City FC will aim to get back to winning ways on Friday when the expansion club travels to Toyota Park to face Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Fire.
NYC entered their inaugural year with higher expectations than most expansion teams given the extraordinary amount of capital the ownership group has at its disposal, along with top-class players such as David Villa and Mix Diskerud.
Despite the star power, Jason Kreis' side has taken its lumps early in the season, finding itself in seventh place in the East and looking to snap a five-match winless run.
After dropping a 2-1 decision to the Philadelphia Union on April 11 and earning a point in a 1-1 draw five days later, NYC hosted the Portland Timbers on Sunday, and fell to a 1-0 loss courtesy of a 79th-minute goal from Dairon Asprilla.
There wasn't a lot to separate the sides in the opening 45 minutes and NYC had the best chance after a Portland turnover as Patrick Mullins got into the box on the left and had a powerful shot tipped around the post by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.
Asprilla pounced on a loose ball at the top of the box and ripped a low shot toward goal that deflected off the foot of NYC defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe and left goalkeeper Josh Saunders with no chance.
The hosts pressed for an equalizer over the final 10 minutes and had a great opportunity in the 89th when Khiry Shelton was slipped through on goal but had his effort blocked by the legs of Kwarasey.
"The result doesn't match the performance we had," midfielder Sebastian Velasquez said. "I think we played great football today -- we had the ball, kept the ball and created chances. We were just unlucky. To have their goal on a deflection things just aren't going our way. We have stick together. We're a family and in tough times this is where you have to keep your head up, stick together and keep motivated."
"I think it's really important we try to recognize the results aren't going our way but the performances are," head coach Jason Kreis said. "I've been around this league long enough to know that if the performances continue like this, then the results are right around the corner."
Chicago, meanwhile, is looking for a third consecutive win on home soil following a 3-2 triumph over Toronto FC on April 4.
Chicago opened the scoring against TFC after 14 minutes through Joevin Jones, but Sebastian Giovinco leveled things for the visitors.
The Reds went in front in the 54th minute when Benoit Cheyrou slotted a half- volley past Busch and just inside the post, but Chicago answered within two minutes as Shaun Maloney darted inside and fired a right-footed effort under Joe Bendik for his first MLS goal.
Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute after Warren Creavalle received his second caution of the match, and Jeff Larentowicz made the Canadian side pay by curling the ensuing free kick just inside the post.
"We played in a good and exciting manner today. I felt we deserved to win the game; we tried to initiate most of the play against a good team. It's frustrating, scoring early, and giving a goal up," said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. "I'm happy with our spirit and general play, we pushed a bit higher, and learned something from our last home game, that we can't sit back against anybody, and we didn't. We tried to push on, had little spells where Toronto had good possession, but the main thing for me is we came up with a victory and I thought we were good attacking wise, and very pleased with everybody's commitment and general play."
"Being in the middle of it feels great," added Jones. "As a defender, when you score a goal, it feels good. I think we're coming together very well, I think me and Shaun [Maloney] have a good understanding going forward."