NYCFC Goals: Moralez 6mins
Houston Goals: Manotas 16mins
A Quick Look
New York City FC were held to a second-successive 1-1 draw by Houston Dynamo at the Pratt and Whitney Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Two quick-thinking set-pieces a side gave us a lightning start to this showdown on Rentschler Field in Connecticut, with Maxi Moralez giving NYC the lead for ten minutes until Mauro Manotas equalized on 16'.
Despite a whole host of chances at both ends, that was the end of the scoring, leaving NYCFC with a 15-8-7 record through 30 games and still in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Unfamiliar surrounds? Sure. But NYCFC made the Pratt & Whitney Stadium feel like home from the get-go.
Just seconds after David Villa saw a good shout for a penalty waved away, the Boys in Blue were ahead on 6' courtesy of a goal from the most unlikely of sources.
Moralez, the shortest player on most MLS fields, has gone close to scoring with his head on a number of occasions since becoming our third DP in the offseason but he finally got there this time...
His near-post glancing header came after an innovative quick set piece from Andrea Pirlo which found Andraz Struna, who racked up his first assist in his first start with this smart service.
A goal to the good, NYCFC kept pouring forward and were only a lick of paint away from doubling their lead on 11’ when Jack Harrison found the crossbar with a great strike.
Five minutes later, Houston were level against the run of play thanks of a quickly-taken set-piece of their own, leading to Manotas lifting the ball over the onrushing Sean Johnson.
Undeterred, NYCFC continued to dominate and would have been ahead if not for a world class save from Tyler Deric to keep out Villa’s snapshot.
From the resulting corner, Tommy McNamara might have made it 2-1 but the 26-year old blazed over the crossbar after the ball had fallen to his feet.
Things quietened down a little thereafter until the interval of a frenetic but entertaining first period of play.
Houston had the second half’s first meaningful opportunity on 54’ when the goalscorer Manotas reacted first after a fortunate bounce in the box but the Colombian diverted his volley wide of Johnson’s goal.
Three minutes later, Harrison created space for a shot to the near post but there was Deric again to palm the stinging effort around the post.
Rodney Wallace was introduced from the bench in place of McNamara on 65’ and the Costa Rican certainly added some thrust to NYC’s attacks.
Twice, Wallace went close – first, drawing a fine near-post save from Deric with a shot from an acute angle, before he headed into the ‘keeper’s gloves after excellent work from Harrison on 87’.
Recovering from a tricky spell in the middle third of the game, the home team dominated the final third (as they had the first) but, try as they might, they just couldn’t find the killer blow.
Harrison was closest to locating it for NYC with a pacey drive from the edge of the box on 89’ but Deric was equal to it before Johnson came to his team’s rescue with a vital block in added time.
Next up, it’s a road game at Montreal which will be vital in determining whether Vieira’s men can grab that bye to the Eastern Conference semis.
NYCFC well well in charge of this one until Houston struck their equalizer against the run of play on 16'.
It was a clever set-piece routine from the Texans but Vieira is likely to be disappointed that his team were slow to read the intentions and that they had not been more ruthless at the other end to take advantage of their explosive start - and finish.
Man of the Match
On the day he netted his fifth goal for the club, it’s got to be Maxi Moralez.
Starting out the afternoon on the left wing, the Argentine playmaker opened the scoring on 6’ with a clever near-post header, before he reverted back to his usual no.10 role upon Wallace’s introduction.
Full of ideas and reliable in possession, Moralez was a handful all day long.
Social Post of the Game
Stats and Milestones
- NYCFC now have a 15-8-7 record through 30 games.
- The club hosted a game at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, CT, for the first time
- Andraz Struna made his first start for the Boys in Blue
- Struna also completed his first assist, setting up Moralez's opener
- Maxi Moralez scored his fifth goal for NYCFC
- This was NYC's penultimate home game of the Regular Season
- NYCFC are still unbeaten in three meetings with Houston Dynamo (W1, D2)
How They Lined Up
Patrick Vieira made three changes to the XI which kicked of NYCFC's 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids last time out.
Struna debuted, while Villa and Ring returned to the team following their injuries. Ronald Matarrita was named in the 18 for the first time since June's victory over Minnesota.
NYCFC are back at it on Wednesday night when we travel to Montreal Impact - our final home game of the Regular Season is on October 22 vs. Columbus Crew. Get your tickets below!