NYCFC Falters in Final Moments, Draws With Colorado

New York City's Rodney Wallace battles with Colorado's Kortne Ford in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Photograph by MLS.

NYCFC logoNew York City FC grabbed an early lead on the road against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday through a wondrous strike from Tommy McNamara only to squander it in the final moments with a careless concession to Major League Soccer’s last-place team in an unsatisfying 1-1 draw.

“A bit frustrated of course, I think when we play away from home and are one ahead and five minutes to go, conceding a goal is a frustration from our side,” NYCFC Coach Patrick Vieira said in quotations provided by the club, a full 11 hours after the game ended.

He added: “We have to be more ruthless in front of goal and be more ruthless in the last 30 to 40 yards. I think as a team, we give away goals that we shouldn’t if we want to compete in a higher level. We make too many mistakes as a team and we have to resolve those problems if we want to keep second place.”

A slip up from Colorado’s Jared Watts helped set up McNamara’s moment of brilliance for the go-ahead go in the 19th minute. Watts lost his footing covering McNamara in the middle of the field, allowing New York’s captain to charge full steam ahead before ripping a long-range shot into the top right corner past Tim Howard’s fingertips.

New York kept the pressure on its hosts after McNamara’s goal. Jack Harrison had a close call in the 22nd minute when his left-footed curler from outside the box missed the mark by a foot. Andrea Pirlo came even closer fewer than two minutes later with a free kick that caught the crossbar. The rebound fell to Frederic Brillant‘s head, but his effort deflected off an unsuspecting Maximiliano Moralez.

Colorado put a scare into in the 53rd minute with two quick chances.

Just a minute later, New York came close to doubling the lead with a stellar passing sequence in Colorado’s defensive third. Ben Sweat combined on a give and go with Moralez to slip behind the back line. The left back fired his initial shot right into Howard and the rebound favorably for a follow up shot, but the keeper in time to swat it away.

Despite holding an edge in possession and outpassing the Rapids for on the night, New York failed to convert the dominance into many scoring chances. Sweat’s bang-bang sequence was one of the team’s few forays inside Colorado’s box. Colorado finished the night with four more shots that New York and both sides produced five shots on target.

Midfielder James Sands came off the bench to replace Pirlo in the 67th minute, making him New York’s first Homegrown Player to appear in a match. Not soon after, striker David Villa entered. The Spaniard missed two matches last week because of an abductor strain sustained while with his national team. Villa’s entrance did not open up much for New York. He only had a few touches as Colorado’s urgency picked up in the closing moments.

Substitute Alan Gordon would have evened things up in the 84th minute if not for a clutch save from Sean Johnson. Gordon floated in between Sweat and Alexander Callens at the edge of the box to earn an unmarked chance, but Johnson’s shin denied him at the last second.

Johnson’s heroics were wiped away only four minutes later as New York’s midfield suffered a breakdown. With no one closing him down, forward Dominique Badji streaked down the field and clinically deposited a low strike past Johnson just before stoppage time.

New York returns the field next Saturday to face the Houston Dynamo. Although it is a scheduled home match, it will be played at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. because Yankee Stadium is unavailable.