NYCFC Scraps to a Draw at Dallas

May 14, 2017; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges (24) tries to defend as New York City FC midfielder Thomas McNamara (15) scores on goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (1) during the second half at Toyota Stadium. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

By CHRISTIAN ARAOS

imagesTwo of the best teams in Major League Soccer did not disappoint Sunday night as New York City FC and FC Dallas played to a hard-fought 1–1 draw in Frisco, Tex.

Kellyn Acosta and Thomas McNamara scored goals in each half even game that saw both teams hold true to their identities. The result was an even game with both teams contesting space in midfield and on the wings. The physicality, along with 80-degree weather, caused some NYCFC players to struggle — Maxi Moralez — while others thrived — Maxime Chanot.

Acosta gave Dallas the lead in the 20th minute with a powerful finish from just inside the area after Michel Barrios‘ dribbling on right wing stretched the NYCFC defense. Dallas could have had a second goal moments after Acosta’s goal as Tesho Akindele found space inside the area and forced a Sean Johnson save with a powerful effort.

Dallas looked for opportunities on the counter while City looked to build from the back. Dallas Coach Oscar Pareja used Acosta and Carlos Gruezo in center midfield to separate Moralez and McNamara from the attack keeping them from creating chances and the ball in City’s end.

It was much of the same for the second half but City were able to create space for themselves through their forward press. Dallas were forced to boot long balls forward that NYCFC were able to recover and turn into possession. But again, City struggled to that possession into quality chances so they found the equalizer from a set piece.

David Villa won a free kick on the edge of the area in the 68th minute and fired the shot off the crossbar. McNamara raced to the rebound and beat Matt Hedges to the ball and headed it into the net before falling into it. It was NYCFC’s only shot on target.

“David hits a brilliant free kick, so chances are it was going to on frame, if not even in the goal,” McNamara said. “My thought was just in case it doesn’t go in and there’s a rebound, let me get myself in a position to make a play, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Although McNamara’s goal earned the point, Johnson saved it. Johnson made three of his four saves in the second half including a kick save on Cristian Colmán‘s breakaway in the 72nd minute. Dallas pushed for an equalizer with Acosta having a shot from the edge of the area narrowly missing the far post moments later. They also caused some dangerous moments off of corners but committed fouls to nullify the threat they created.

Vieira gave Mikey Lopez his first minutes of the season in the 77th while Miguel Camargo made his fourth substitute appearance of the year replacing Jack Harrison in the 84th. Andrea Pirlo did not make the trip to Dallas but will be meeting the team in Salt Lake City for Wednesday’s game against Real Salt Lake.