Despite going a man down with less than 20 minutes to play in the contest, visiting New York City FC held strong and managed a 0-0 draw versus the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night.
New York City's Keaton Marks was sent off following his second yellow card of the night in the 73rd minute. It was a serious blow for NYCFC (8-5-3, 27 points), which already was struggling to generate any consistent chances even after scoring 10 goals while winning its previous three contests -- all at home.
Chicago (3-9-5, 14 points), however, was unable to take advantage of 10-man City. For the night, the Fire managed just five total shots, and one on target, while falling to 0-2-3 over their last five matches.
With Chicago's Bobby Shuttleworth injured, 17-year-old homegrown Gabriel Slonina (four saves) made his MLS debut, while becoming the youngest goalkeeper ever to start a league match and also record a shutout in his first such contest. And, it didn't take long for the youngster to be tested, making an easy catch save on NYCFC's Valentin Castellanos within the first two minutes.
That would be the only shot on target recorded by New York City in the first half.
The Fire's best chance of the opening half came in the 37th minute when Jonathan Bornstein's header in the box landed on top of the City net. That was one of the two shots attempted by Chicago in the first half, compared to seven from City.
Slonina made a diving save in the early minutes of the second half on a Maxi Moralez chance. Slonina also broke up an in-box cross intended for Castellanos in the 56th minute.
Stanislav Ivanov, making his first MLS start, had a point-blank opportunity for the Fire just beyond the hour mark, but City keeper Sean Johnson corralled the ball for an easy stop on the home side's first shot on target. Parks, meanwhile, nearly curled the ball in for New York City in 71st minute, but his attempt was just off the mark - and moments before he was booked for the second time on the evening.