NYCFC Goals: McNamara 19mins
Colorado Goals: Badji 88mins
A Quick Look
New York City FC continued their MLS Playoffs charge with a 1-1 draw against Colorado Rapids in Commerce City.
Tommy McNamara scored a wonder goal on 19', James Sands made his professional debut and David Villa returned from injury as a substitute on a night which was only spoiled by Dominique Badji's late, late equalizer.
It was almost the perfect night for NYCFC in the Mile High City...
Roared on by an impressive pocket of traveling fans in the corner of Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Boys in Blue made a confident start but it was Colorado who went close to breaking the deadlock on 14' when Badji worked Sean Johnson with a shot across goal which needed strong palms to turn away.
That momentary threat seemed to anger the Boys in Blue, who rallied and found themselves ahead five minutes later through a trademark golazo from McNamara.
The night's skipper picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable strike which left Tim Howard grasping at thin air as it ripped into the upper 90.
One of the goals of the season so far, no doubt.
There was almost another contender for that accolade just a couple of minutes later, as Andrea Pirlo curled in a free-kick which beat Howard, but not the crossbar, with the rebound deflected just wide of the target.
Patrick Vieira's men stayed on the front foot for the remainder of the half but there was a reminder of the slenderness of the lead on 40' when Johnson was required to tip over a dipping strike from Marlon Hairston.
A Rapids reaction was expected after the break as Steve Cooke's men sought to climb off the bottom of the Western Conference but NYCFC would have doubled their advantage if not for some excellent goalkeeping from Howard.
Ben Sweat played the one-two to get in behind the backline and shot straight at the veteran USMNT GK with the first one but his rebound looked in until Howard fingertipped it wide of the post.
A moment of history followed on 67' after a sustained period of Colorado pressure as James Sands entered for his professional debut, becoming the first-ever Homegrown Player to take to the field for NYCFC.
He would have joined in his first goal celebration a minute later, if Howard had not beaten away a drilled effort from Jack Harrison after he cut in from the wing to great effect.
David Villa was introduced with 20 minutes remaining as the league's leading scorer returned from the injury sustained on international duty but it was Rapids in the ascendancy as they poured forward in pursuit of the equalizer.
They would have got it on 84' if not for an outstanding stop from Johnson, who made himself huge on the one-on-one and saved from Alan Gordon with his legs.
However, Colorado would not be denied and they did finally deliver the sting in the tail four minutes later, when Badji fired into the far corner following a driving run into the box.
Johnson got a hand to the strike but it wasn't enough to prevent the ball from finishing up inside the sidenetting.
It was a disappointing end to the night but a draw was probably the fair result on the balance of play.
Oh, Tommy Mac...
West Nyack's finest does not score ordinary goals, it seems... this one was right up there with his stunners against Chicago and Red Bulls as he arrowed his strike in from all of 25 yards to open the scoring.
That goal imbued his team with confidence and, on the night he was captaining the side, it was especially sweet.
Man of the Match
Nominated for the Etihad Player of the Month award in August, Frederic has carried this excellent form into September, striking up a rock solid partnership with Alexander Callens at the back.
Together, the pair have played instrumental roles in ensuring that it's now been six games since NYCFC conceded more than one goal.
On this night, Brillant was a tower of strength, repelling aerial balls and reading the game beautifully to ensure the Rapids were kept frustrated for much of the night.
Social Post of the Game
Stats and Milestones
- NYCFC now have a 15-8-6 record through 29 games.
- James Sands made his professional debut, entering as a substitute
- Tommy McNamara scored his third goal of the 2017 season
- Andrea Pirlo recorded his second assist of the year
- NYC remains in second place in the East
- It's now been six games since NYCFC conceded more than one goal in a match - the longest such run of the year
- Slovenian international Andraz Struna also made his debut for the club
How They Lined Up
David Villa was fit enough for a place on the NYCFC bench after recovering from the injury sustained in the international break, while Khiry Shelton started on the right wing.
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Allen, Brillant, Callens, Sweat, Pirlo, McNamara (C), Wallace, Shelton, Moralez, Harrison
NYCFC Subs: Johansen, Sands, Struna, Awuah, Lewis, Okoli, Villa
NYCFC are back at it at on Saturday when we host Houston Dynamo at the Pratt Whitney Stadium in East Hartford. Get your tickets below!