NYCFC Goals: David Villa 13’, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 75’
LAFC Goals: Sebastian Ibeagha (OG) 23’, Carlos Vela 66’
NYCFC trotted out onto the Banc of California Stadium’s pitch looking for a bounce-back performance after last weekend’s Derby disappointment. Patrick Vieira kept the faith in his squad, making just one change to the starting XI.
This match was always set to be one of fireworks, with each team getting on the scoresheet often in this still-young season. LAFC’s Mexican International star Carlos Vela came into tonight’s match-up leading his squad with five goals, while Maxi Moralez, Jesus Medina, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi tied atop the NYCFC charts with four goals apiece.
Befitting the headlining talent, this match was a wild one that finished 2-2, earning NYCFC a tough point on the road.
Both squads came out of the gate roaring with intensity at kickoff, though it was LAFC who settled into a spell of possession in the early minutes. After weathering some pressure, NYCFC found themselves with a chance to take the lead in the 12th minute.
A shot by Anton Tinnerholm from outside the box struck LAFC’s Edward Atuesta’s outstretched hand, resulting in a penalty confirmed by Video Assisted Review. David Villa slammed home the 402nd goal of his career with an emphatic diving header after his initial penalty attempt was saved by Tyler Miller.
Just a couple of minutes later, Anton Tinnerholm made another impact play for the boys in blue, clearing a dangerous cross along the six-yard box from Latif Blessing out for a corner in the nick of time. However, the pressure from LAFC finally told in the 23rd minute, when a header from Walker Zimmerman deflected off Sebastian Ibeagha and into the back of Sean Johnson’s net.
A few more chances started to pop up with the game becoming more and more open as the first half wore on, punctuated by a big Alexander Callens block to deny Diego Rossi an open look on goal from close range in the 34th minute. During the final few minutes of the opening 45 minutes, NYCFC’s defense held firm as LAFC parlayed their home field advantage into some dangerous opportunities.
It was NYCFC who were on the front foot to start the second half, breaking into the final third and creating a big chance on a quick counterattack. In the end, David Villa flashed a curler just wide of Tyler Miller’s net in the 49th minute. Just a few minutes later, a similar situation would arise, with David Villa sliding a cheeky ball across the box to Maxi Moralez, whose shot nearly skimmed the crossbar on its way over.
Both sides creating scoring opportunities in transition would become a theme as the night progressed, with the second half proving a considerably more wide open affair than the first. Set pieces would provide some nervy moments on both ends, as well. LAFC very nearly found the back of the net in the 62nd minute, as Laurent Ciman’s long-range free kick blast took a deflection and clanged off the outside of Sean Johnson’s post, while NYCFC threatened from corners through the first twenty minutes of the half.
The visitors found themselves behind 2-1 in the 66th minute, when Carlos Vela reacted quickest to a loose ball scramble in the box to score from close range.
Not to be outdone, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi did what he does best on his return from injury. Another quick break resulted in a deflected Anton Tinnerholm cross which Ismael pounced on at the back post, smashing his shot off the bottom of the crossbar to equalize.
On NYCFC’s very next trip down the field, Jesus Medina found himself one-on-one with Tyler Miller with a chance to take the lead, but Miller made an excellent save to deny the teenage Paraguayan after he was slipped through by David Villa.
NYCFC would continue to pose a major threat on the counter in the final ten minutes of the second half, and a blizzard of chances at both ends would cement this match as a nail-biter right to the very end.
The boys in blue were forced to hold their collective breath once more in the 90th minute as Carlos Vela’s header was just barely redirected over the bar by Sean Johnson, and once again in stoppage time when the El Tri star flashed an effort across the mouth of goal to no avail.
But when the final whistle blew, it confirmed a well-earned point for New York City FC, who put in the kind of shift that would make Patrick Vieira proud. His side preserved their streak of not losing back to back games dating back to April of 2016, and head into next Weekend’s match at Yankee Stadium on a high note.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s equalizer in the 75th minute clinched a point for NYCFC, and it came on a frantic scramble at the end of a sharp counterattack. Anton Tinnerholm’s deflected cross forced a tough save out of LAFC’s Tyler Miller, but he couldn’t keep it out of the path of Ismael, who absolutely blasted it into the back of the net off the bottom of the crossbar.
NYCFC.com Star of the Game
Though he didn’t find his way onto the scoresheet, Tinnerholm was a man possessed for NYCFC. He made plays on both sides of the ball all the way up and down the pitch, created chances, and snuffed out LAFC’s chances in front of goal. Coming up with big-time interventions on multiple occasions, it was Tinnerholm and his efforts who earned NYCFC a road point as much as anyone else in Vieira’s squad.
Social Post of the Match…
A tank indeed, sir… A tank, indeed.
Stats and Milestones
- NYCFC haven’t lost back-to-back Regular Season matches since April of 2016
- With the draw, they preserve their record of never having lost three straight road matches under Patrick Vieira
- David Villa and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi reduced the three-way tie among NYCFC’s top goal scorers to two, with each now having five goals on the season.
- NYCFC head back to Yankee Stadium having only been beaten once in the last 12 months of regular season football at home.
- David Villa notched the 402nd goal of his illustrious career.
How they lined up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson; Sweat (Tajouri-Shradi, 69’), Callens, Ibeagha, Tinnerholm; Ring, Herrera, Moralez (Ofori, 80’); Medina, Berget, Villa © (Mataritta, 87’)
Subs: Stuver, Houtondji, McNamara, Wallace
NYCFC return to Yankee Stadium eager to continue their 12-month regular season unbeaten streak against the Colorado Rapids, who sit in eleventh place in the Western Conference.