NYCFC earned a creditable 1-1 draw against FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas last night.
Managing Editor Mark Booth picks out five things we learned…
With time spent together and with hard work comes grit, organization and resilience.
There were a couple of spells in the night where it did feel as though NYCFC were hanging on, especially on either side of halftime, but it was testament to this team that they did not fold under the pressure.
FC Dallas certainly showed why they’re considered one of the Major League Soccer’s best sides but then, so did the away team, as they gave as good as they got over the course of the 90’.
When Tommy McNamara bundled in the rebound after David Villa’s free-kick, it was a goal that you felt had been coming due to the increased pressure the boys in blue were exerting in the offensive third.
Dallas did, of course, have a couple of great chances to retake the lead themselves but a combination of excellent goalkeeping and fine defending kept them at bay, meaning you came away from the game thinking this might have been one in the L column in previous seasons.
That NYCFC came away with a point from arguably their toughest road game of the year speaks volumes for our progress and the improvements made on the roster in the offseason.
Sean Everet Johnson
No-one would have pointed the finger of blame at Sean Johnson had Maxi Urruti’s rasping strike made it 2-0 at the start of the second half.
However, Sean was equal to the strike, producing a remarkable fingertip save which sent the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and out of harm’s way.
He was at it again at 1-1 when he denied Akindele with a save that was perhaps even better, getting an almighty paw to the shot which looked destined for the bottom corner.
Sean has added so much to the backline with his leadership qualities and organizational skills but he is an excellent goalkeeper too, as he demonstrated for all to see in this 1-1 draw.
Right Place, Right Time
When Villa stepped up to take the free-kick which led to the equalizing goal on 68’, Miguel Camargo was stood on the sidelines, ready to take the place of McNamara.
How relieved Vieira will be that he decided to wait to make the change as it was Tommy who read the flight of the ball and reacted first when David’s shot came back off the crossbar.
It was a tough night for all of the NYCFC midfielders as they faced off against FC Dallas in their sweltering home and had to cover a lot of ground in punishing conditions, but, on his return to the XI, McNamara weighed in with a priceless goal which showcased his knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Return of Mikey
On a night which ended on a positive note, Mikey Lopez provided another cause for celebration as he made his long-awaited return to action.
How fitting it was too that he should make his first appearance of 2017 in his home state in front of friends and family.
The Texan lost a preseason to the surgery he had on his ankle in the offseason and has had a long road back to action.
Lopez made his presence felt too, providing an energetic presence in the center of the field as a sapped NYCFC fought to claim their point in the closing minutes.
Welcome back, Mikey – you’ve been missed!
With three road games in the space of a week on a trip which sees NYCFC cover around 5000 miles, rotation will be key for Vieira in the coming days.
Don’t be surprised if Patrick decides to change things up in midweek at Real Salt Lake to conserve energy for another trip to Orlando where the boys in blue will be aiming to win for the first time against The Lions.
How many points would represent a successful road trip to the Head Coach? Only the Frenchman knows, but a tie in Dallas was undoubtedly a good start in this important stretch.