CHARLESTON, S.C. | Tommy McNamara appeared to have the golden heel on a rainy Wednesday night, setting up a pair of goal-scoring opportunities for New York City FC with nifty passes.
One was run onto and finished by Mix, while the other agonizingly caromed off the far post as the Club dropped a 2-1 decision to fellow Major League Soccer side Houston Dynamo in the 2015 Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium.
"For me there’s a lot of positives," head coach Jason Kreis said. "Positives with our play, positives with our shape, positives with the way the ball moved and then two bad moments. If you play in MLS long enough you know teams are quite capable of punishing you if you give them quality chances. Two quality chances, two balls in the back of our net. For me it isn’t about the result right now, it’s about the performance and it’s about fixing the errors."
Trailing 1-0 after Brad Davis volleyed home Kofi Sarkodie’s cross from the right side, New York City FC strung passes together downfield, ending with McNamara flicking the ball backwards to an onrushing Mehdi Ballouchy.
The midfielder dragged his shot toward the far post, but the ball clanked off the woodwork in the 65th minute.
McNamara, who is continuing his road to recovery after offseason ACL surgery on April 30, had a carbon copy back heel in the 80th minute after Houston had doubled its lead. His pass nutmegged a defender as Mix smashed the ball into the back of the net.
"Mix played it to me and he ran around me so I was just trying to get him the ball back in a better position," McNamara said. "I back heeled it. Luckily it worked out and he had a good finish.
"I feel good. I'm confident. I feel strong, I'm comfortable. I’m happy I’m able to get back on the field and compete with these guys."
Houston, which lost 1-0 to host Charleston in the first match of the round-robin tournament, took a one-goal lead in the 51st minute. Sarkodie, a defender, got free on the right flank and curled his cross over a leaping Jeb Brovsky right onto the foot of Davis, who one-timed it home with his left foot.
The Dynamo doubled their advantage 18 minutes later off another cross from the wing.
Davis was the provider this time, swinging in the ball from the left side toward a pack of players in the box. Boniek Garcia out-jumped a host of bodies to head the ball past goalie Eirik Johansen.
New York City FC, which drew its first match of the preseason competition to Orlando City SC 1-1 on February 22, wraps up play in South Carolina against the host Battery at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Starting XI (4-2-3-1):
Fitzgerald; Brandt, Facey, Watson-Siriboe, Brovsky; Poku, Dunn; Shelton, Alvarez, Velasquez; Mullins
40' - Williams
45' - Johansen
60' - Wingert, Hernandez, Calle, Taylor, Mix, Jacobson, Ballouchy, McNamara
Watch a replay of the match below.