NYCFC Goals: Héber 51'
Orlando City SC Goals: Nani 18'
For the second time this season, New York City FC and Orlando City shared a point after Héber cancelled out Nani's first half strike at Yankee Stadium.
Héber, who racked up his third straight Man of the Match award, scored his first goal in the Bronx to make it 1-1 in the 51st minute, which is how it stayed, giving NYCFC seven points from a possible nine in a busy three-game week.
NYCFC was back in the Bronx for their third game in a span of seven days against Orlando City SC.
The last time the two teams faced off was at Orlando City Stadium on the opening day when both teams settled for a 2-2 draw. This time, the Boys in Blue were coming off back-to-back wins against D.C. United and Chicago Fire, looking to make it three to climb up the early standings.
Dome Torrent’s starting XI showed two changes with Valentin Castellanos and Ronald Matarrita making way for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Ben Sweat.
NYCFC’s defense was put to work early in the game, as the Lions came out strong, pushing the ball forward in an effort to get on the board first. James Sands wrapped Tesho Akindele up in their first opportunity with a perfectly-timed challenge to end a counter on 8' but it would prove to be just a reprieve.
On their next raid forward, Nani capitalized on a loose ball to steer the ball past Sean Johnson into the bottom corner of the net, making it 0-1 to the visitors.
That brought Johnson’s clean sheet streak to an end, but it didn’t affect his performance at all throughout the game. The keeper kept his focus on the ball and keeping his team’s spirits up as the hunt for the equalizer commenced.
Héber’s desire to score his first goal at home was evident. The Brazilian had two shots on goal in the first half, with the best, an instinctive diving header, drawing a fine save from Brian Rowe in the Orlando goal.
Orlando nearly struck again before the break as Tesho Akindele found the back of the net after Alexander Callens slipped to let him in, but happily for the 20,000 inside Yankee Stadium, as well as the Peruvian, the officials disallowed the goal after referring to VAR.
Tajouri-Shradi made his presence felt on his return to the lineup. The Libyan almost had the City boys level on a long ball from Heber as he took a small touch to get the ball past the onrushing Rowe, but it rolled agonizingly just past the post.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort but the NYCFC went to the locker room down by one but that deficit didn’t last for long after the restart…
The Boys in Blue came out in the second half looking dominant and eager to score the equalizer. It finally came in the 51’ minute as Maxi Moralez smashed the post with a well-hit shot that came back for Héber to put a final touch on.
It was a cool finish, requiring the Brazilian to keep his head over the rising ball to steer the volley in under the bar.
In the remaining minutes, City fought hard against Orlando and heavy legs to try and find the go-ahead goal but Orlando’s defense was solid and there were no clear opportunities to get the winner.
Dome Torrent put substitutes Taty Castellanos and Alexandru Mitriță on in a bid to turn City’s domination into a third-straight win but it was Orlando who perhaps had the best chance to take all three points on a rare break forward.
It looked to all the stadium like the Lions were going to steal a fortunate road win but Dom Dwyer missed an open goal from a few yards out with a header at the back post.
The final whistle blew and NYCFC came away with one point from their second draw against the Lions in 2019, wrapping up a week of three games with seven points under their belt.
NYCFC.com Man of the Match
The Brazilian striker has now won the Man of the Match title three times in a row! Héber scored the team's lone goal in the match against the Lions to get the equalizer and help his team come away with a point before heading into a stretch of away games.
Way to make us proud Héber, #ForTheCity!
How We Lined Up
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Chanot, Sands, Callens, Tinnerholm, Sweat, Ring (C), Ofori, Tajouri-Shradi, Moralez, Héber
Subs: Stuver, Ibeagha, Rocha, Parks, Mitriță, Medina, Castellanos
NYCFC hits the road for the next four matches before returning home to The Bronx to face FC Cincinnati on Pride Night on June 6. Stay tuned for more!