New York City Football Club II Goals: Francesco Di Ponzio 41', Jack Beer 58', Jonathan Jiménez 83'
Toronto FC II Goals: Alec Díaz 36'
New York City Football Club II earned a superb 3-1 comeback win over Toronto FC II in the MLS NEXT Pro. Goals from Francesco Di Ponzio, Jack Beer and Jonathan Jiménez clinched the victory for the Boys in Blue, after Alec Díaz had opened the scoring for the visitors, while Alexander Yagudayev produced a crucial penalty save just after the hour.
Thursday's encounter saw the two sides meet for the second time already this season with Matt Pilkington's side having triumphed 2-0 away from home back in April.
The visitors started brightly with Theo Rigopoulos twice going close early on, before Jordan Faria also saw an effort well-saved.
The Young Reds would draw first blood on 36', working the ball out to the right through Markus Cimermancic for Dias to drive forward and drill into the far corner.
The Boys in Blue responded magnificently, and ensured they would not head into the break behind, rallying to equalize within five minutes.
A neatly-worked move carved open the Toronto defense to find Rio Hope-Gund in space. The defender found Di Ponzio on the edge of the box, and the midfielder applied the perfect first-time finish with four minutes of the first half remaining.
Matthew Myers and Jiménez almost turned the game on its head before the interval, and the City Boys would pick up where they left off in the second period.
Jiménez continued to threaten, as NYCFC pressed - the hosts peppering the Toronto goal with eight shots on target in total.
The go-ahead goal would arrive courtesy of a half-time super sub, as Beer produced a key impact, finishing off another glorious team move.
Building from the back, the Boys in Blue broke forward down the left, and the midfielder latched onto Stevo Bednarsky's pass and cut inside before arrowing a low drive past Luka Gavran.
Klevis Haxhari was unfortunate not to make it 3-1 on 60' with a header saved - and two minutes later, 16-year-old goalkeeper Yagudayev starred at the other end, denying Julian Altobelli from the penalty spot (after Reshaun Walkes had been upended) with what turned out to be a match-winning save.
With City searching for a cushion and Toronto seeking to tie, there were chances for both sides in an entertaining clash, but the home side made sure of the points with seven minutes left on the clock, as Jimenez collected Myers' cross, took a touch to compose himself and smashed home.
How We Lined Up
New York City Football Club II are back in action on Sunday, May 28, welcoming FC Cincinnati II to Belson Stadium in a 7:00pm ET kick-off.
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