Malanda, Kahlina lead Charlotte over New York City 1-0 in opener

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Defender Adilson Malanda scored his first career goal and Kristijan Kahlina made it stand up as Charlotte FC blanked New York City FC 1-0 in a season opener on Saturday night, making manager Dean Smith a winner in his debut with the club.

Malanda needed just eight minutes to find the net and give Charlotte the lead for good. Malanda did not score and had one assist in 29 starts with the club last season. He had an assist in six appearances — all starts — in 2022.

Kahlina totaled three saves to earn the clean sheet for Charlotte. Matt Freese saved five shots in his first full season for New York City.

Charlotte, in its third season in the league, parted ways with Christian Lattanzio after two seasons and turned to Smith, an Englishman with Premier League experience.

Charlotte improves to 4-0-1 all time against NYCFC.

NYCFC newcomer Jovan Mijatović, a Serbian youth international striker, made his debut in the 62nd minute, replacing Julián Fernández. Austrian midfielder Hannes Wolf started in his debut with the club.

Midfielder Júnior Urso started in his debut for Charlotte. Iuri Tavares, a 22-year-old midfielder from the club's NEXT Pro team Crown Legacy FC also started in his debut.

New York City travels to play St. Louis City on March 2. Charlotte hits the road to play the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 2.

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