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New York City FC secured a point on Wednesday against Atlanta United after a dramatic finish to the game.

Here are Five Points from a memorable night against the Five Stripes.

Caught On The Counter 

New York City FC faced a difficult test in Atlanta United on Wednesday, with their hosts arriving to the game in good form. 

The early exchanges saw NYCFC create several good opportunities, including a fast breakaway involving Maxi Moralez and Thiago Andrade. Unfortunately, it would be Atlanta that took the lead when a turnover on halfway allowed Luiz Araújo the chance to feed Marcelino Moreno. This would be a pattern in the game, with Atlanta’s best chances coming via turnovers and counter-attacking opportunities.

As the game progressed that placed NYCFC in a predicament. It was vital they found a balance between controlling the ball, probing the opposition, while also protecting themselves from conceding a second. For that reason, NYCFC showed character to learn from their mistake and not repeat it by defending transitions well after Atlanta’s opener.  

Character 

Gudi Thórarinsson made no secret of the fact this has been arguably the most testing period of his career. 

The team’s difficult run of form has placed pressure on everyone in the club, and it would have been easy to collapse after conceding on Wednesday night. Instead, the players rode through some choppy waters, remained persistent, and eventually earned the goal their play deserved. 

The key now is to turn that platform into success in the final four games of the season, but it’s fair to say Wednesday’s result could prove the turning point in weeks to come. 

Sweet Spot 

It’s fair to say New York City FC grew into the game against Atlanta, and the introduction of substitutes changed the pace of proceedings. 

They earned a deserved equalizer late in the game thanks to a fantastic freekick from Gudi Thórarinsson. The Icelandic defender scored from a set-piece earlier in the season against FC Cincinnati, but the stakes were far higher on Wednesday night. 

The 29-year-old showed tremendous composure and quality by scoring his goal, and it was clear from the celebration what it meant to the players.

Change It Up 

Ronny Deila did not shy away from using his substitutes bench on Wednesday night, and it was key in turning the game around. 

Talles Magno won the freekick that Gudi Thórarinsson converted, but their influence was not confined to that moment. Talles has had to be patient since joining NYCFC, but on Wednesday we saw why the club are excited by his potential. The forward carried the ball effectively, and caused problems for Atlanta when able to isolate opponents in 1v1 situations. 

Elsewhere, Gedion Zelalem offered a threat with his incisive passing through the lines. The 24-year-old was able to quickly change the team’s point of attack with his impressive range of passing. 

That allowed NYCFC to disrupt Atlanta’s shape and create spaces to exploit, like the one that saw Talles win Gudi’s freekick. Making changes is always risky, but Deila made big calls and they paid off.   

The Drought Ends 

New York City FC fans waited 509 minutes to see their team score a goal, but when it did come it was memorable. 

The team have created a good number of chances during that tricky run, and controversially saw Alex Callens’ header struck off against Nashville SC for offside. 

The fact the goal saw the team claim a valuable point only boosted its significance, and that should ease the pressure on the players as they approach the final four games of the regular season.