Sapong plays spoiler as Union draw NYCFC at Yankee Stadium


BRONX, N.Y. – For the second time in five days, the Philadelphia Union have left New York City FC heartbroken.

An 86th minute strike from CJ Sapong cancelled out a heroic second half goal from unlikely hero, Mehdi Ballouchy, giving Philadelphia and NYCFC a share of the spoils in front of 20,461 fans at Yankee Stadium.

“It feels like a loss,” goalkeeper Josh Saunders said after the match. “We got a point out of it if you want to take any positives. It keeps status quo between us and Philly on the Eastern Conference.”

As was the case in Philadelphia, the Union set the pace of the match to start the first with Andrew Wegner and Sebastian Le Toux pushing the visitors forward. A 2nd minute flurry saw Wenger shake Josh Williams on the left, sending a blast right at keeper Josh Saunders. The former Galaxy keeper stopped the shot and covered the rebound by Le Toux. Last week’s hero Fernando Aristeguieta got into the action mere minutes later, firing a shot from 30 yards just high of net.

NYCFC struggled to answer the visitors, but slowly gained composure, riding the play of David Villa. Though the team captain managed a few threatening runs, he was consistently double and triple teamed by the Union defense. His partner Adam Nemec, however, did manage to put a scare into Philadelphia with a header in the 27th minute that went high of net.

New York’s best chance of the half came in the 29th minute, with Villa sending Ballouchy through one-on-one with keeper McCarthy. His shot, however, left much to be desired, punting the ball high of net.

Searching for solutions, Khiry Shelton became a target man for NYCFC on the flanks, twice breaking through behind the keeper, sending threatening balls into the area, but failing to display composure on his delivery and touch.

NYCFC made a precautionary move to protect David Villa at the half, subbing the ailing Spanish striker for midfield Poku and bringing in Kwame Watson-Siriboe for veteran Jason Hernandez.

Surprisingly, the change brought life to the attack — and NYCFC found their breakthrough. A clever touch into space from Ballouchy was enough for the Moroccan midfielder to launch a curling left footed shot past McCarthy to give NYCFC the lead in the 57th minute.

“I had the ball, started driving on the back four and it opened up,” Ballouchy recounted. “McCarthy saw me as I went to my left. Fortunately, I made a good connection and it ended up going in.”

Josh Saunders kept New York in the match, repelling a deflected Wenger shot to keep the visitors at bay in the 73rd. Minutes later, Le Toux fired a shot from a Zach Pfeffer feed, but his attempt was deflected in front of net, safely rolling wide.

Luck ran out for the home side in the 86th minute. Centerback Maurice Edu handled a beautiful cross in the area, nodding the ball into space and finding Sapong for the game tying goal.

New York City FC continue their home stand this Sunday as they host Western Conference power, Portland Timbers.

New York City FC, Philadelphia Union

Thursday April 16, 2015:  7:00 p.m. EDT

MLS Regular Season

Yankee Stadium


Scoring Summary:

57’ Mehdi Ballouchy NYC (Assist: Khiry Shelton)

86’ C.J. Sapong PHI (Assist: Maurice Edu, Cristian Maidana)

Misconduct Summary:

22’ Vincent Nogueira PHI (Yellow Card)

25’ Ned Grabavoy NYC (Yellow Card)

32’ Javier Calle NYC (Yellow Card)

41’ Sheanon Williams PHI (Yellow Card)

58’ Mehdi Ballouchy NYC (Yellow Card)

67’ C.J. Sapong PHI (Yellow Card)

73’ Kwame Watson-Siriboe NYC (Yellow Card)

87’ Andrew Jacobson NYC (Yellow Card)


New York City FC:.Josh Saunders, Josh Williams, Jason Hernandez (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 45’), Chris Wingert, Javier Calle (Jeb Brovsky 78’), Mehdi Ballouchy, Andrew Jacobson, Khiry Shelton,  Ned Grabavoy, Adam Nemec , David Villa (c) (Kwadwo Poku 45’)

Unused substitutes: Ryan Meara, Thomas McNamara, Patrick Mullins, Sebastian Velasquez


Philadelphia Union: John McCarthy, Sheanon Williams, Maurice Edu (c), Steven Vitoria, Raymon Gaddis, Eric Ayuk Mbu (C.J. Sapong 58’), Vincent Nogueira (Zach Pfeffer 63’), Michael Lahoud, Andrew Wenger, Fernando Aristeguieta (Cristian Maidana 58’), Sebastien Le Toux

Unused substitutes:  Andre Blake, Brian Carroll, Conor Casey, Ethan White


Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, C.J. Morgante

4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic

Attendance: 20,461


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  • Stone cold Steve Austin

    Is it me or nycfc play like a Barbie team already.
    They need to play tough and SCORE and win for their fans, if not their fans base will demanding new dps every year and a new coach.

    • Ulrich

      Probably you.

      NYCFC plays like an expansion team that has had one year of player selection/acquisition.

    • paul

      don’t you worry about their fans… 20,400 in attendance on a week night with a rangers home playoff on. Red Bulls will have a fraction of that attendance tonight (under more favorable circumstances)

  • NoLongerSupportingNYCFC

    (Note the typo: son is 22months, not 24).

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