Making a name in New York: Khiry Shelton’s starting debut

At 21 years old, New York City FC forward Khiry Shelton is taking the Bronx by storm with his youthful exuberance and willingness to get at defenders. Shelton, made his NYCFC starting debut on Thursday evening against the Philadelphia Union, going the full 90 minutes.

The Colorado Springs native played a key role in the team’s lone goal, assisting on Mehdi Ballouchy‘s 57th minute effort.

Leading up to the goal, Shelton delivered an inch-perfect pass to the feet of Ballouchy, who cut in on his left foot, before curling a shot past Union goalkeeper John McCarthy.

Despite the disappointing draw, Shelton was a huge bright spot in the match for City. He eased past defenders numerous times on both flanks, delivering quality crosses and attacking passes, such as his build-up pass leading to the goal. He appeared to be very comfortable on the ball, and as Shelton is well aware, he has the speed to match his technical ability.

“I have pace and a lot of people know that. I was able to get behind them [Philly]. They were dropping off, so people were able to create chances underneath.” -Khiry Shelton

As Shelton eluded to, his pace is evident to everyone, and that he will certainly give opposing sides fits throughout the course of the season.

Shelton seemed to really give NYCFC something that they have been lacking for a few weeks now; attacking presence.

Fellow striker Adam Nemec, who was in the starting lineup Thursday, plays a much different game than Shelton. Nemec is more of a hold-up attacker, who plays with his back to net, while Shelton isn’t afraid to take players on. His quick, compact touches and skill allow him to work in tight spaces, which opens up his ability to break away from defenders with his elite speed.

NYCFC's Khiry Shelton dribbling around Union goalkeeper John McCarthy. Courtesy of NYCFC.

NYCFC’s Khiry Shelton dribbling around Union goalkeeper John McCarthy. Courtesy of NYCFC.

It’ll be interesting to see how Jason Kreis uses Shelton going forward, especially after the performance he put in against the Union. It seems almost certain that he will be in the starting XI going forward for New York City FC, with the extra gear that he can provide.

We’ll see Khiry Shelton and the rest of his NYCFC teammates on the field again Sunday, when the Light Blues host the Portland Timbers at 7 pm ET.