CHESTER, Pa. | Tommy McNamara had a memorable debut by scoring in his first-career start in Major League Soccer in 2014.
The midfielder repeated his goal-scoring feat in his first-ever start for New York City FC on Saturday night.
McNamara and Patrick Mullins scored as the Club earned a vital 2-1 road victory -- their first ever -- over the Philadelphia Union in front of a sellout crowd of 18,517 on a beautiful early summer evening at PPL Park.
New York City FC improves to 2-7-5 (11 points) after their first victory since a 2-0 win over New England on March 15, while the Union are now 4-9-3 (15 points).
"It feels good to finally get three points," McNamara said. "We’ve been working extremely hard. We’ve been staying together. It feels good for it to finally come together for us."
"Obviously I'm really pleased with the efforts of the guys and the result," head coach Jason Kreis said. "It’s like a breath of fresh air around here. We’ll look at it for what it is -- a really important three points. Great to get a win away. Great to finally get some points I’ve felt we’ve deserved for a long time but we need to keep our feet on the ground. We must look at ourselves in the mirror and know we have a long way to go."
McNamara, making his first start with the Club, gained possession in the midfield and dished the ball to Kwadwo Poku, also making his first start of the season. The midfielder waited for McNamara to make his run into space and fed the ball to the 24-year-old in front of him. McNamara, who missed most of 2014 after tearing his ACL on April 12, darted ahead into a gap and fired his effort into the top far corner in the 53rd minute.
It was his second-career goal and first since finding the back of the net for Chivas against the Chicago Fire on March 9, 2014.
New York City FC turned a potential second consecutive draw into a victory that snapped an 11-game winless streak with a great show of strength and accuracy by Mullins.
The second-half substitute received a throw in from Jeb Brovsky and fended off a defender on his hip. Mullins turned and fired a left-footed effort to the near post past Philadelphia goalie Brian Sylvestre for a one-goal advantage in the 87th minute.
It was Mullins’ third goal of the season.
"We gave ourselves a really good chance to get something from the game," Mullins said. "Sometimes it’s about plays in the first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes of a half and that’s what it came down to. It’s huge. Not only is it three points, but it’s three points on the road and that's not easy to do in this league. It’s a big morale boost and hopefully we can continue to put together nice performances and get points."
A week after being the beneficiaries of a handball call in the box, New York City FC fell victim to a non-call.
Players and fans alike shouted for an infraction, but the referee allowed play to continue as CJ Sapong guided the ball into the near post off a corner kick in the 46th minute to give Philadelphia a 1-0 advantage early into the second half.
Sebastian Le Toux’s corner kick was sent into a dangerous area just outside the 6-yard box. Philadelphia captain Maurice Edu may have gotten his head to it, but the ball hit Sapong and settled nicely in front of him as the forward slipped it into the near corner past a diving Josh Saunders, who had six saves.
The match was scoreless at halftime.
Both teams had their share of chances to take an early advantage, but couldn’t capitalize.
Andrew Wenger’s header in the 17th minute went over the net.
McNamara and captain David Villa had chances thereafter, but the first effort was saved by Sylvestre and the second went wide of the goal.
New York City FC’s best initial effort came in the 38th minute. Villa’s chip from the left side was headed down by Adam Nemec onto Sebastian Velasquez. The midfielder’s close-range effort at the near post was cut off by Sylvestre to keep the match scoreless.
"I thought it was great," Saunders said. "I thought the effort was amazing. We’ve been talking about it coming for a long time. We created good chances and put them away. I couldn’t be prouder of the guys; it was awesome."
New York City FC return home for a match against the Montreal Impact on June 13. Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium.
"It’s just one game," McNamara said. "It’s nice to break the winless streak, but it doesn’t matter unless we follow it up with another good performance and result next week."