New York City FC returns home from Atlanta United with a point following a 2-2 draw on Sunday night.
Here are Five Things we learned from an engrossing encounter…
By any measure, this was an excellent game of football.
Blistering recent form was evident for all to see on both sides of this absorbing, high quality match between the East’s early pacesetters.
It was one of those rare kinds of nights where both sets of supporters would walk away satisfied with what they’d seen and with a point to show for it.
NYCFC and Atlanta traded blows from the get-go, with City bright, composed and imaginative on the ball and the hosts' razor sharp with their counterpunches, their fleet-footed attacking trio buzzing around mischievously in this intriguing clash of styles.
It could have gone either way right up until to the final whistle but sometimes a draw is a fair result and football fans everywhere will already be excited for the return game on June 9 at Yankee Stadium.
Atlanta came into this one fresh with seven days between their LAFC rout and this visit of an NYCFC side who were in action as recently as Wednesday night vs. RSL.
On the turf of the Mercedes Benz Stadium it was a wearing night on the bodies of the City boys but they dug in and kept finding gas in the tank to get forward throughout.
It was a night for rolling up sleeves and managing the game and NYC passed the test to remain unbeaten through seven games of 2018.
The Ringleader’s Rocket
As we wrote in the game recap, Alex Ring has been threatening to score a goal like this ever since he signed for NYCFC back in the early months of 2017.
For all of the Finland international’s combative qualities, he also possesses incredible technique with the football, as he demonstrated with his unerring equalizer which was his first goal for the club.
It’s the type of goal Alex can regularly be seen scoring on the training ground and it seems only a matter of time before we see another sweet strike from one of the league’s most consistent performers.
It was a majestic performance from Ring on his first start for a month, as he turned in another dominant display, operating as an extra defender to relieve pressure points and running tirelessly to put out fires as the screen in front.
A deserved Star of the Match award followed.
Fight to the End
Another match stat to come out of this one that won’t be lost on Vieira is that this is the second time NYCFC have recovered deficits twice in the same game this season.
Like at New England, City twice dusted themselves down after going behind in Atlanta and refused to be beaten.
It’s the kind of backbone that’s been seen on countless occasions in Vieira’s reign and is becoming something synonymous with the team – one that never quits.
The Boys in Blue have now lost just one of their last ten MLS Regular Season road games – a phenomenal record which shows just how accustomed we’ve become to taking our show on the road.
In the typically loud, effervescent Mercedes Benz Stadium, NYC demonstrated why they’ve become such difficult guests, dictating the game for good stretches of the 90’.
Taking the heat out of the game where possible in the last 15’ as the effects of two games in three days began to tell, they also showed a maturity and steeliness which should hold the team in good stead for future tests.