Adilson Malanda’s first career goal lifts NYCFC over Charlotte


Adilson Malanda scored his first career MLS goal as host Charlotte FC held on for a 1-0 victory over New York City Football Club as coach Dean Smith made a winning debut.

Playing in his 36th MLS game since signing with Charlotte on Aug. 4, 2022, Malanda got his elusive goal on a scramble near the net.

Kerwin Vargas was awarded a corner kick after NYCFC goaltender Matt Freese stopped Junior Urso. Vargas got the ball into Iuri Teixeira Tavares, who appeared to score, but his shot rang off the post after going over Freese.

The ball popped back out to the center of the box for Malanda. After New York’s Kevin O’Toole started running back to the other side of the field, Malanda was alone in the box and punched in the rebound with a header from close range that went into the bottom right corner.

Kristijan Kahlina stopped three shots for his 13th career clean sheet and helped Charlotte withstand NYCFC holding possession for 57.3 percent of the match.

Freese helped NYCFC stay in it by making five saves.

After Charlotte took the lead, NYCFC had plenty of chances to tie or take the lead.

In the 35th minute, Kahlina stopped Julian Fernandez’s right-footed shot from the right side of the box. Seven minutes later, Santiago Rodriguez mishit a free kick from slightly outside the box and it was blocked by Brecht Dejaegere. The half ended when Rodriguez had a right-footed shot from outside the box blocked.

Rodriguez missed another right-footed shot from outside the box 10 minutes into the second half when his shot sailed too high. In the 57th minute, Mounsef Bakrar sped through midfield, but his left-footed shot sailed over the net.

Charlotte nearly took a 2-0 lead, but Freese stopped a penalty kick try by Vargas in the 66th minute. Three minutes later, Freese stopped Urso’s header on breakaway and then denied a right-footed shot by Vargas.

NYCFC continued to miss decent scoring chances. Rodriguez’s right-footed try hooked a few yards over the crossbar in the 76th. NYCFC got its second and third shots on target, but Kahlina stopped Talles Magno in the 85th and 89th.