Huntsville City FC Goals: Azaad Liadi 14', Nebiyou Perry 16', Shaun Joash 35'
New York City Football Club II Goals: Ronny Arévalo 38', Jonathan Jiménez 50', Matthew Myers 51', 71'
New York City Football Club II continued their impressive winning streak with a remarkable 4-3 victory over Huntsville City FC. The Boys in Blue fought back from 3-0 down to triumph in Alabama, as Ronny Arévalo, Jonathan Jiménez and Matthew Myers struck to cancel out first-half goals from Azaad Liadi, Nebiyou Perry and Shaun Joash, before Myers bagged his second of the night to snatch the points. Ollie Wright was also sent off for the hosts in the seven-goal thriller - a thoroughly pulsating game - at Joe Davis Stadium.
On the back of successive home victories over Toronto FC II and FC Cincinnati 2, Matt Pilkington's side were looking to take their fine run on the road in a first-ever meeting with Huntsville.
The MLS NEXT Pro debutants had endured a challenging start with one win and 12 goals scored from their opening nine games but stormed into a three-goal lead with just 35' on the clock to stun the visitors.
The home side broke the deadlock with just 13 minutes gone, as Liadi latched onto Isaiah Johnston's long ball and drilled under Alexander Yagudayev.
Two minutes later, it was 2-0 when Perry collected a loose ball, with City unable to clear Wright's forward pass, and tucked the ball into the near post.
NYCFC were left with a mountain to climb when Huntsville made it three from the penalty spot after Yagudayev had brought down Joash, and the forward stepped up himself to convert.
Desperate for a route back into the game, the City Boys needed a moment of magic, and it arrived three minutes later courtesy of a set-piece. Jack Beer floated a free-kick to the backpost where Haxhari headed back across goal, and Arévalo slid in to give the visitors a lifeline with his first goal of the season.
With the momentum and inspired by their half-time team talk, NYCFC rallied in the second half to produce a sensational comeback.
Jiménez reduced the deficit to one with a glorious curling effort into the top corner from the edge of the box after receiving the ball from Samuel Owusu's driving run.
A minute later, City had leveled. Myers scored his fourth of the season, running onto Beer's header forward, riding the challenge of Ahmed Longmire and firing into the far corner to spark jubilant scenes.
And Myers would prove the matchwinner with 19 minutes of normal time left to play. Jiménez found the forward with a delightful through-ball and the forward made no mistake with the finish, coolly placing the ball into the nearpost to complete an incredible turnaround.
There was more drama to follow when Wright was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Beer a minute later, and with the man advantage, Pilkington's side held on for a memorable win, clinching a third straight triumph for only the second time in MLS NEXT Pro action.
“The biggest thing is the character of the group, and the culture that we’ve created is huge. Even though we were three-nil down, we knew that we had a chance because these guys don’t give up.
“We are at a point in time where they’re very strong in their habits and they’re very connected in how they train and work, and the squad is very together. In moments of adversity, they’re really showing up, being brave, and finding solutions.
“So, the biggest thing for me is the fact that we just keep playing and we keep together. The culture behind it and the environment that we create as a group is key to this.”
How We Lined Up
New York City Football Club II are back in action on Sunday, June 11 in the second Hudson River Derby of the season. The Boys in Blue entertain Red Bulls at Belson Stadium in a 7:00pm ET kick-off.
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