The New York City Football Club left more points on the table, as they blew a lead in the final minute to walk out with a 2-2 draw against Orlando City on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Though NYC FC obviously played better than their last outing, a 7-0 shellacking by the Red Bulls a week ago Saturday, they took just one point out of a game they should have taken all three.
NYC FC jumped out to the early lead, when Frederic Brillant scored on a header off a pass from RJ Allen in the box in the 42nd minute to make it 1-0, and they took that lead into the half.
In the 66th minute, David Villa took a ball from Pirlo off his chest and then lobbed it past Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik from 17 yards out for his league-leading ninth goal of the season to make it 2-0 NYC FC. .
Four minutes later Villa had a chance for another one when he was awarded a penalty kick after referee Jorge Gonzalez called a handball on defender Seb Hines inside the box. But Villa failed to convert a penalty kick for just the second time in 11 tries.
Orlando City got one back in the 72nd minute, when Julio Baptista scored after he received a ball from Kevin Molino and put a low deflected shot inside the near post.
In the 94th minute, right around the end of extra time, Molino received a headed ball from Cyle Larin and put a side volley into the net to tie it up at 2.
NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said of how disappointing it was to give up the last goal at the end of the game, “Of course we are disappointed because when you look at the game, the way we started, the situation of the game we played, just taking one point from that game is unbelievable. We had a situation where we should have killed the game, scored that third goal and the game would be finished, and we didn’t do it. We gave them the chance to get back in the game and to concede the goal and the win, that is really disappointing.”
NYC FC still has just one win at home, April 30 against Vancouver, along with five ties and two losses.
If they won just three of the five they tied, they would have 24 points and have a nice cushion atop the Eastern Conference, instead of being in fourth with 18 points and a record of 4-4-6.
Vieira said of NYC FC only winning one of eight home games thus far, “Well I think when you look at our table and where we are, I think we are fighting with teams to be part of the playoffs. We know that we have to improve our home games, but if we don’t get the points at home, we have to get them somewhere, and if we have to get them away from home, we will do it, but we are conscious that we need to improve our home performance. I think where we are, we are fighting to be in the playoffs. I think you guys write us off, but it’s far away for us to give up. People are always losing points. People might lose to teams that you maybe don’t expect and in football there’s so many things that can happen that we can’t control. We have to improve our home games, but that doesn’t condition whether we’ll be in the playoffs or not.”
NYC FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo said of their struggles at home, “We make a lot of points but we also give away a lot of points. There is nothing wrong with this stadium and we should be able to win here like we have been winning on the road.”
Vieira said of the team’s confidence in general and whether this game is a learning experience or if he sees a lot of down trodden faces right now, “No, not at all. I think we’re disappointed of course because they deserved to get the three points tonight. The fans, of course, I can understand their frustration and they can express themselves, but we are professionals and we have to accept the response and the criticism from the fans. I think after the Red Bulls game, we had criticism not only from the fans, but from you guys as well, but that’s our job and we have to accept it and we have to face it. I strongly believe that the best answer we can give is a performance on the field. I think today, we showed fans and we showed you guys that we can play football and what we are just missing is this last ten, fifteen seconds to take the three points, but I believe that by far we were the better team tonight.”
NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders said of the team’s mentality, “We are focused and that makes a difference. I think we had a 5% drop rate. We just need to be introspective and find a way to win games. We need to continue to work hard. We are creating some good plays and scoring goals”
Saunders said of the frustrations of allowing a late goal, “I don’t necessarily think we lost our fire. We just conceded late. It’s part of the game, its football. You just kind of have to roll with it. The season has its ups and downs and at this moment, it’s a mediocre moment so we’ll build on it and get better.”