David Villa scored twice in the final 10 minutes, but Ethan Finlay also struck for a late brace as New York City FC and the Columbus Crew SC played to a wild 3-3 draw at MAPFRE Stadium Saturday night.
“I hope the fan enjoyed it because it was a really good game of football with goals, with teams leading and the other teams coming back, change of tactics and it was of tension,” said coach Patrick Vieira. “I think that is the type of games that the MLS needs. It was a really good game of football. You had everything; you had the tension, you had the passions and it was good.”
Frank Lampard broke the scoreless stalemate with his ninth goal in the last 10 games with a true poacher’s effort four minutes from halftime. Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark parried Andrea Pirlo’s 26-yard free kick off the post and Lampard pounced, tapping in from the edge of the six-yard box to give NYCFC the lead at the break.
Lampard had another chance three minutes earlier after Pirlo cut inside and outside of his defender to chip a ball into the box, but Clark pushed Lampard’s header over the bar for an NYCFC corner kick.
Columbus leveled in the 49th minute when Justin Meram latched onto a Waylon Francis corner and headed in from eight yards out.
“Coming in here to play against Columbus, they’re a good team, they’re in a spot where they’re at home and needed and wanted to get three points,” said midfielder Thomas McNamara. “To play against a good team like that and to be on the road and take a point, come home with a point, it’s going to serve us well at the end of the season. It’s something to kind of hang our hat on a little bit.”
The Crew (3-8-11) took a 2-1 lead as Finlay scored from the penalty spot in the 80th minute, but Villa leveled just three minutes later with his 14th goal of the season. The Captain settled a sublime ball over the top of the Crew defense by Andrea Pirlo and knocked in from just outside the six-yard box.
Villa then scored from the spot after Harrison Afful handled the ball in the box for his league-tying 15thgoal of the year to give NYCFC (10-7-8) a 3-2 lead two minutes into second-half stoppage time.
But Finlay followed with the equalizer in the dying seconds of the match, following a blocked shot to score from the edge of the six-yard box.
“I think we were a little bit frustrated,” McNamara said. “I don’t think we played as well as we would have liked or could have. Credit to Columbus, they made it difficult on us, but I’m proud of the resiliency the team showed. To come back from giving up goals to get back into the game and take a lead … just unfortunate at the end.”