BRONX | New York City FC were up, then they were down, but ultimately, they were never out.
The Club rallied not once, but twice to share the spoils in a 4-4 draw with Toronto FC in front of a sell-out crowd of 27,533 fans on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Captain David Villa scored twice – once on a free kick and once from the penalty spot – and Patrick Mullins found the back of the net in the 84th minute as New York City FC have now suffered just one loss in their last six matches.
New York City FC improves to 5-8-6 (21 points), while Toronto FC is now 7-7-3 (24 points).
"We are really starting out games well, creating attacking chances, creating goal scoring chances and taking goals," head coach Jason Kreis said. "But for whatever reason, there seems to be a moment in every game where we just stop. I think the moment probably came when we gave away that penalty kick—the second one that he (Sebastian Giovinco) actually scored to make it 2-1. I think a lot of guys kind of hung their heads at that moment and said, ‘Here we go again.'
"That’s not a good enough reaction and we’ve got to continue to strive to improve because we need to be able to put 90 minutes together. That always has to be our goal. I think in soccer, you’re never going to be dominant and the leader of the match for 90 minutes, but it certainly needs to be our goal.”
The Club took a 2-0 lead in an exciting first half that saw a total of three penalty kicks. Villa put New York City FC ahead 1-0 with a beautiful free kick from the corner of the 18-yard box in the 16th minute. His strike to the near post hit the hands of goalie Chris Konopka, but still found the back of the net.
It was the second consecutive match Villa’s scored on a free kick.
A mere three minutes later, Toronto FC had a chance to equalize as Mehdi Ballouchy was called for a foul in the box. Sebastian Giovinco’s ensuing penalty kick went off the post as New York City FC’s 1-0 lead remained in tact.
Villa had a chance to double it down the other end as Tommy McNamara was taken down in the area by Damien Perquis, but the captain’s penalty was saved by Konopka. Mullins was there to slam home the rebound off Perquis, which was deemed an own goal in the 28th minute.
Giovinco took over from there as the momentum swung toward the visitors.
The Atomic Ant scored three goals in nine minutes, including avenging his prior penalty miss with a make in the 33rd minute, as Toronto FC held a 3-2 lead at halftime.
"It was a very strange game," Villa said. "At the beginning, we were winning 2-0. We were happy and thinking we had such an advantage that we started making mistakes. We suffered three goals against us in about 10 minutes. What looked like an easy victory became a very peculiar match for us. I would also like to add that we have the best goalkeeper in the whole league. If it wasn’t for him (Josh Saunders), it would have been a bigger problem.”
The action didn’t slow in the second half as a fourth penalty was awarded as Villa was taken down in the box by Konopka. Villa slammed home his kick from the spot for his 10th goal of the season and third brace in four matches, to tie the match at 3-all.
Toronto FC appeared to escape with all the spoils as Marky Delgado put the visitors back ahead in the 82nd minute.
Just like he did on June 6 at Philadelphia, Mullins came to the rescue again. Pablo Alvarez's free kick was bouncing around the penalty area and the forward was the last to get his head onto it and put it into the back of the net.
New York City FC welcomed the debuts of both Andoni Iraola and Angelino in the draw. Iraola started at left back and played the entire match, while Angelino came at left back in place of Kwame Watson-Siriboe to start the second half.
"It was a big day for me because it was my professional debut and I’m really happy," Angelino said. "Hopefully we can get even better as a team. We worked hard and fought to earn the draw. We need to improve our results."
Added Iraola: "It was exciting. I really wanted to help my teammates more and I’m not really happy because we couldn’t win this one. We’ve had some training this week with the team but we need to train more together. We need to know more about each other and get used to each other. We’ll improve for sure but we need to play better than we did today."
The Club returns to action on July 18 at New England. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. EDT Gillette Stadium. The match will be broadcast on YES Network, WFAN and WADO.